Saturday, February 24, 2007

Omaha World-Herald: Hagel Cheers Word of Middle East Diplomatic Plans

Here's a Omaha World-Herald Article:

Published Sunday February 18, 2007

Hagel cheers word of Middle East diplomatic plans


WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is poised to start new diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East, including encouraging a regional security conference that might include Syria and Iran, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said Saturday.

If so, the outreach could add a new element of diplomacy to the region and to ongoing military efforts to quell violence in Iraq, Hagel said in an interview.

Hagel said he and Stephen Hadley, President Bush's national security adviser, discussed Iraq, Iran, North Korea and the Middle East on Saturday.

"I believe the administration is moving in a new positive direction to help and start initiating some new diplomatic efforts in the Middle East," Hagel said. "They can count on my support on this if they start to do some things."

A senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Hagel said he believes the administration may be thawing a bit in its hard-line stance against Iran and Syria.

"Yes, absolutely," Hagel said.

The administration has argued against reaching out diplomatically to the two countries because of their ties to terrorist organizations.

In addition, Iran has apparently been moving toward possible development of nuclear weapons, despite strong condemnation by the Bush administration and U.S. allies.

Hagel has long advocated a U.S. role in trying to organize a regional security conference to try to bring stability to Iraq and to move the Middle East peace process forward.

If they meet, the various nations could consider playing roles in promoting jobs, security, deterring terrorism and resolution of the ethnic and religious differences now plaguing Iraq, Hagel said.

The United States shouldn't be in charge of the conference but should try orchestrating a meeting among the other nations, he said.

Such a conference might help defuse growing tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in the Middle East outside Iraq, he said.

"It takes a lot of pressure off the administration if they can start some of these initiatives," Hagel said, adding he told Hadley, "Tell the president I'll be right with him on it as I have been on India, as I have on trade and so many of his diplomatic initiatives."


Senator Hagel's book deal is underway

Senator Hagel's book deal is underway

(2/17/2007)By Corinne Hautala Senator Chuck Hagel has reached an agreement on a book deal. Hagel's spokesman, Mike Buttry, says the senator will write a book this year about the United States' future.

It is expected to hit bookshelves during the 2008 presidential primary season.

But Buttry says the book deal has nothing to do with Hagel's possible presidential campaign.

Hagel has said he will decide early this year whether or not to run. As of now, no decision has been announced.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hagel Introduces Bill to Aid

Hagel Introduces Bill to Aid

February 16th, 2007 -
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) introduced legislation today that would amend the eligibility for the military death gratuity paid to the next of kin of military personnel killed while on active duty. By law, the death gratuity benefit goes first to a spouse or a child. This legislation would provide, in cases where a minor child is the next of kin, the ability for the service member to designate the grandparents, siblings, or guardian to receive part or all of the benefit to care for the child.

“As we face the challenges of the 21st Century, servicemen and women sacrificing for their country in a time of war should be assured that their families will be taken care of. The loss of a loved one is a tremendous emotional hardship for families. This is common sense legislation that will ensure that when the next of kin is a child, the death gratuity may be immediately available to the child’s guardian, if so designated,” Hagel said.

Under current law, when the next of kin is a child, the death gratuity is not accessible until the child turns 18, unless a state court decides to allocate the death gratuity to a guardian. Often, if the state probate court does grant access to a guardian, it can take a great deal of time and cost additional money to gain such access.

The military death gratuity is money provided within 72 hours to families of service members who are killed while on active duty. In 2004, Senator Hagel introduced legislation to raise the death gratuity to $100k. This provision was included in the FY05 National Defense Authorization Act, which became law on January 6, 2006.

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Hagel and Lautenberg Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Cap Healthcare Costs for Active Duty Military, Guard, Reserves, Retirees and Their Families

Hagel and Lautenberg Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Cap Healthcare Costs for Active Duty Military, Guard, Reserves, Retirees and Their Families

February 15th, 2007 -
WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Senators Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced today the Military Health Care Protection Act, a bill to place reasonable and affordable caps on enrollment fees, deductibles and pharmacy co-payments for more than an estimated six million active duty military personnel, National Guard, Reserves, retirees and their families.

The fiscal year 2007 Pentagon budget would triple health fees for nearly two million military retirees under age 65 and their dependents. The Hagel-Lautenberg bill will block the following proposed increases in military health care costs:

• Raising the $230 single/$460 family TRICARE Prime enrollment fee to as high as $700 and $1,400, respectively.

• Raising the annual $150 single/$300 family TRICARE Standard fees to as high as $560 and $1,120, respectively.

In addition, under the Pentagon’s proposed budget, retail pharmacy co-pays would be raised 67 percent for all active duty military personnel, National Guard, Reserves, retirees and their families.

“America’s career military service members make tremendous sacrifices in service to our country. We cannot burden our military retirees and their families with dramatic increases in out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. It is wrong to increase healthcare fees on the men and women who have already contributed greatly to our nation before addressing current inefficiencies in the TRICARE system,” Senator Chuck Hagel said.

“We need to provide our troops with the best equipment money can buy. But we also must provide them and their families, as well as those who have retired, the best quality healthcare at the most affordable price,” Senator Frank R. Lautenberg said. “If we tell our soldiers and sailors it is their duty to protect America, it is our duty to provide for them when they return and retire.”

The Hagel-Lautenberg legislation also establishes that the percentage of increase in retirees’ health fees in any given year should not exceed the percentage of increase in their compensation.

Vice Admiral Norb Ryan, President of the Military Officers Association of America, and Joe Barnes, National Exec Secretary of the Fleet Reserve Association, joined Hagel and Lautenberg to introduce the Military Health Care Protection Act.

“We’re extremely grateful to Senators Hagel and Lautenberg for sponsoring this legislation to protect military beneficiaries,” said Vice Admiral Norb Ryan, Jr. (USN-Ret), President of the Military Officers Association of America. “Their bill offers an important reminder that active duty, Guard, Reserve, and retired servicemembers have paid far greater premiums for their health coverage than any other segment of our society—and prepaid them up front, through decades of arduous service and sacrifice.”

A coalition of 35 military associations have pledged their support for the bill.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Run Chuck, Run

The following is an article from published on February 10th.

Run Chuck, Run
by Jon Harrison

As we go from bad to worse in the Middle East, one senator stands out as an alternative to the Bush administration and its policy of escalating violence and death. That senator is Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska).

Hagel served in combat during the Vietnam War. He knows very well the cost -- in blood, fear, and anguish -- that war imposes on our soldiers. As a presidential hopeful he would be the candidate not just of the peace party, but of his fellow grunts as well.

Despite misgivings, Hagel voted for the Iraq war resolution in 2002. Like many others in Congress, he has come to oppose the war. Unlike many of his fellow legislators, however, Hagel went into opposition well before the war became unpopular with the country at large.

His principled stand on this and other issues has left him with few friends among the conservative base of the Republican Party. The race for the Republican nomination for president would, clearly, be an uphill one for Hagel. But the dynamic may be changing. Peggy Noonan recently came out in praise of Hagel on the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Unquestionably, there is a growing hunger in the country for truth-telling about Iraq. No Republican has been speaking the truth about Iraq longer than Chuck Hagel has.

Does history repeat itself? Well, the election of 2000 sure looked a lot like that of 1876, did it not? Today, Iraq looks more and more like Vietnam. If President Bush's "surge" in Iraq goes sour, and we find ourselves spiraling into disaster in the Middle East, 2008 may look a lot like 1968 -- the country in chaos as a result of an unpopular and unwinnable war. The prospects for an anti-war Republican with Hagel's credentials might then be very different.

I mentioned a changing dynamic. I haven't voted in a presidential election in twenty years, but I've already sent in my name as a volunteer for the Hagel campaign, should the Senator decide to run. It takes an awful lot to make a cynic like me get up and volunteer for anything.

We're fed up with this war, and with Bush. Run Chuck, run.

Jon Harrison is a freelance writer living in Vermont.

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Great Article

10 Questions: Chuck Hagel and the Surge is a great article on the CBS News website. I'd encourage everybody to check this link out.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Draft Hagel 08 website launched!

Today the Draft Hagel 08 website was launched. Go and visit it today!

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