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"I'm happy to tell you that we probably agreed to an increase in educational benefits for our veterans that not only gives them that gives them an increase in their educational benefits, but if they stay in for a certain amount of time than they can transfer those educational benefits to their spouses and or children. That's a very important aspect I think of incentivizing people of staying in the military."
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (CNN) -- Sen. John McCain on Monday defended his opposition to a Democratic bill that would expand education benefits for veterans, saying it would hurt the military that he hopes to lead.
Sen. John McCain is co-sponsoring alternative legislation to the GI Bill that the Senate passed last week.
The new GI Bill being debated in Congress would expand education benefits for veterans who served at least three years in the military after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
The bill's main sponsor, Sen. Jim Webb, is a Virginia Democrat and, like McCain, a Vietnam War veteran. The Senate passed Webb's bill 75-22 last week. McCain was not in Washington for the vote.
Saying he takes "a back seat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans," McCain said Webb's bill would be a disincentive for service members to become noncommissioned officers, which he called "the backbone of all the services."
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