Webb Sworn In

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

January 4, 2006

Democratic Senator Jim Webb, along with 33 new and newly re-elected senators, took the oath of office on Capitol Hill shortly after noon on Thursday.

At the ceremonial swearing in, Webb was accompanied by former Virginia Senator Charles Robb. The democrat who lost his seat in 2000 to Republican George Allen.

Shortly after the ceremony Webb talked about getting to work and how both parties can work together.

"What I'm hoping for, and what I think a lot of people are hoping for, is that despite the fact that there will be strong disagreements on a lot of issues that are facing us, we can do this is a responsible way that actually can resolve some of these debates rather than these personal attacks that have affected politics too much recently," said Webb.

The biggest disagreement has been, and likely will be, Iraq. During Webb's campaign, and again Thursday, Webb was still in opposition with the Bush administration.

"My concern was that this administration did not have a clearly articulated plan for the occupation of Iraq," explained Webb, referring to his opinion from as far back as 2002. "That's still my question today."

On his first official day as senator, Webb introduced legislation that would affect citizens serving in active duty. It's a take off of the GI bill from the World War II era. The proposal is an educational package providing service men and women serving since 9/11, with a monthly stipend, money for tuition and books, and about $1,000 per month.

"It's probably a good accompaniment to some of the democratic legislation that is probably going to be critical of the war in Iraq," said Matt Smyth of the UVA Center for Politics. "A bill like this would show that democrats are pro-soldier, even if they're anti-war."

Webb will also serve on the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee.

Both are relatively high-ranking groups.

"He'll be the most junior member of both of those committees, but he has experience that not a lot of other senators have," said Smyth.

Both committees are likely to soon begin hearings on issues related to the war. Some say as soon as next week.

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