When Congress finishes its August hiatus, look for U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, to take up an argument that will be achingly familiar to anyone who lived through the Vietnam years.
He’s got legislation that would allow 18-year-old members of the U.S. military to purchase and consume wine and beer while on base.
The legislation was dropped last month, just as House members walked out the door.
Purchases of beer and wine at base exchanges and convenience stores still would be prohibited, according to the bill.
Kingston, whose congressional district includes Savannah, believes someone mature enough to fight for the country in a time of war is mature enough to have a beer, said his spokesman, Chris Crawford.
“If we’re asking someone to risk their lives in defense of this country and they’re responsible enough for that, we ought to have enough faith in them to have a beer,” Crawford said. “By restricting it to on-post establishments and not allowing them to purchase alcohol intended to be consumed elsewhere, the bill would not impact local and state regulations. It also keeps the alcohol consumption from getting out of control as they would be in establishments with superior officers.”
The bill was referred to the House Armed Services Committee. It is co-sponsored by Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss…..
Not everyone agrees with the bill.
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., said lowering the drinking age for active-duty servicemembers could lead to alcohol abuse across the nation’s armed services.
“I normally see eye-to-eye with Jack Kingston on just about everything, but I would oppose that particular piece of legislation,” Wilson said.
Wilson, whose congressional district includes Beaufort County, is the ranking Republican member on the House Armed Services Committee.
Hard liquor would remain off-limits until a service member is 21.