Ranking Member Walz Applauds Bipartisan Effort As Historic G.I. Bill Legislation Becomes Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) released the following statement after H.R. 3218, The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, was signed into law:
“As the highest ranking enlisted servicemember ever to serve in Congress, and as a teacher with over two decades of experience, I know firsthand the extraordinary value a quality education can have for a servicemember returning home,” Rep. Walz said. “That is why I am so proud of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who worked hard to improve one of the greatest pieces of legislation ever passed in the history of the United States Congress: the G.I. Bill.”
“The original G.I. Bill served as the foundation upon which an entire generation of servicemembers returning from World War II built not just their educations but their entire civilian lives; today, we built on that legacy. This bipartisan G.I. Bill will improve the lives of future generations of veterans by enhancing existing benefits, correcting current gaps in eligibility, and providing new benefits to help our veterans in today’s economy without asking our troops or American taxpayers to pay more.”
“A lot of hard work and deliberation went into crafting this legislation and every lawmaker, advocate, and American citizen who played a role in today’s bill being signed into law should be proud of themselves. I want to thank the Members on both sides of the aisle as well as our well-respected veterans service organizations for their hard work and commitment to improving the lives of our nation’s veterans and their families.”
The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 will remove time restrictions to use the G.I. Bill, enabling future eligible recipients to use their GI bill benefits for their entire lives, as opposed to the current 15-year timeline. It will also simplify the benefit for future servicemembers by consolidating the GI Bill into a single program over time, which will reduce VA’s administrative costs. The legislation provides significant increases in G.I. Bill funding for Reservists and Guardsmen, dependents, surviving spouses and surviving dependents. It also provides 100% GI Bill eligibility to Post 9/11 Purple Heart recipients. In addition, this bill restores eligibility for servicemembers whose school closes in the middle of a semester and creates a pilot program that would pay for veterans to take certain high technology courses.
More information on the bill is available here.