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Dems Backed Down on Protecting WLA VA Campus

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You know that beautiful corridor between Westwood and Brentwood on Wilshire - all that grass, and lack of skyscrapers, and what's the word: open space? It belongs to the Veterans. It's called the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus.

George Bush and the feds want it, they want to be able to build on it, and lease or sell it to Big Business. And when it looked like the $120 billion Iraq War spending bill was going to get passed by weak Democrats who were elected to stop the war and bills like this that only extend the war, a previously negotiated provision to protect the campus was asked to be removed by the administration. If the provision remained, the president threatened to veto the entire bill. Promise?

The language, which congressional negotiators had earlier agreed to include, would have barred the federal Department of Veterans Affairs from selling, leasing or otherwise transferring parts of the 388-acre property for commercial development. Late in the game, however, the White House Office of Management and Budget said President Bush would veto the legislation unless the VA provision was removed, congressional sources said Friday.

"This was an unfortunate setback in our efforts to make sure that veterans get the best care possible," Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) said in a statement Friday, "but I'm going to continue to fight…. This land is dedicated for veterans, and we are going to make sure that commitment is honored."

The omission of the VA provision was first reported Thursday by the National Journal's Congress Daily, which said OMB Director Rob Portman weighed in and succeeded in stripping the provision, along with some others, from the legislation. Congress Daily quoted Waxman as saying the language had come out "at the insistence of the administration." - LA Times

It's fascinating to hear Democrats say that the reason that they allowed this bill to go through was a) to support the troops and b) to prove that this is Bush's war. However if they had stood their ground on this provision and Bush really did veto the bill because of this one thing,
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he would have been the bad guy who cut funding to the troops in Iraq because he wanted to develop on that beautiful land.

Are the Dems seriously that spineless that they won't let this guy dig his own grave?

As the old saying goes, I can't wait to vote.

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