Rangel's Military Draft Bill Defeated

Republicans killed Charlie Rangel's draft bill today. Not that it had a snowball's chance in h*ll of passing, but they wanted to try and prove to voters that Bush will do no such thing.

Apples and oranges. No one suggested Bush would support Rangel's bill. Killing Rangel's bill has zero effect on whether Bush will decide, if reelected, to introduce a new draft bill. As Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) said today:

Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, countered that Bush's Iraq policies have so strained U.S. forces, that a draft was possible no matter how unpopular it would be. "Guess what, we're running out of troops ... Let's not be astounded that what follows is a draft. The only problem is that you can't announce it until after the election," Conyers said."

The notion that Republicans oppose a draft while Democrats support it is false. It's not a Democrat/Republican issue. After 9/11, Republicans Nick Smith (MI) and Curt Weldon (PA) introduced the "Universal Military Training and Service Act of 2001", H.R. 3598, in the House of Representatives. Like Rangel's bill (H.R. 183)and its Senate counterpart (S. 89) which were introduced on January 7, 2003, it was referred to the Committee on Armed Services.

As we reported here, the bill called for a re-activation of the draft and was covered by the media.

University Wire contains several articles on it. The Humanist, March 1, 2002, (available on Lexis.com)reported on the bill:

Military recruitment may not be necessary if H.R. 3598 passes. That's the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 2001, introduced in the House of Representatives by Republicans Nick Smith of Michigan and Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania in an attempt to reactivate the draft. The bill's goal is "to require the induction into the Armed Forces of young men registered under the Military Selective Service Act, and to authorize young women to volunteer, to receive basic military training and education for a period of up to one year." Those forced into service would be all able-bodied males between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. There appear to be few deferments: high school students to get a high school diploma, members of the various military academies, and legitimate conscientious objectors (as determined by a local draft board in a manner similar to the procedures of the early 1970s). Inductees are to be paid at 35 percent of the rate of regular members of the armed forces of equal rank.

Other news sources that reported on the bill, all available on lexis.com:

February 12, 2002, Tuesday, BC cycle The Associated Press State & Local Wire,

Last fall two Republican congressmen, Nick Smith of Michigan and Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, introduced a "Universal Military Training and Service Act." It would require all males aged 18 to 22 to "receive basic military training and education as a member of the armed forces" for "not less than six months," with possible extensions and a continuing "call-back" obligation.

Marine Corps Times March 4, 2002 Monday Dom Edition;
Orange County Register (California) February 3, 2002;
Gannett News Service, February 01, 2002, (which noted that Smith was to appear on Fox New's Hannity and Colmes talking about the need for his bill, although there is no transcript which may mean his segment may have been canceled for any number of reasons.)

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