Rep. Salazar Supports Post-9/11 G.I. Bill Introduced In House
U.S. Rep. John Salazar (CO-3) is co-sponsoring a bill that seeks to provide veterans of the 9/11 era with educational benefits similar to those provided to service members at the end of World War II. U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-3) announced the "Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007" during a press conference today.
Rep. Salazar joined Senators Jim Webb (D-VA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Congressman Chris Carney (PA-10) and representatives from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), the Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA), the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS) and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) in expressing their support for the bill.
Rep. Salazar said: "At this time we have hundreds of thousands of brave men and women who have enlisted since 9/11, these men and women have put their lives at stakesometimes with two or three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. This legislation could help create our nations Next Great Generation and I'm proud to offer my support."
Rep. Scott said: "I am proud to be the House sponsor of Senator Webb's Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, who served in the Massachusetts National Guard and U.S .Army Reserve. The United States has an obligation to provide our service men and women fighting overseas with the benefits they so rightly deserve. This means we must support our troops while they are overseas and also when they return home and attempt to better their lives through education. It is time for a new G.I. bill."
Senator Webb noted: "With many of our service members having served under difficult conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan and some of them having pulled multiple tours, it is past time to enact a new veterans' education program modeled on the World War II era G.I. bill. Since I introduced S.22 on January 4, the bill has received strong support from the nation's top veterans' organizations, 18 members of the Senate, and now, 5 members of the House. I applaud Congressman Scott for leading the effort in the House of Representatives."
Under the legislation (H.R.2702 in the House, S.22 in the Senate), returning service members could earn up to 36 months of benefits, equivalent to four academic years, which would include payment of tuition, books and fees, as well as a $1,000 a month living stipend for those veterans whose military service qualifies them for the program.
Senator Lautenberg, a WWII veteran, who attended college on the G.I. Bill said: "The G.I. Bill provided a true opportunity for me, as it has for millions of Americans. After my military service ended, it gave me the education I needed to succeed in business and in the public sector. Now we have a new generation of veterans who selflessly served our country, and we owe them that same opportunity to achieve their dreams."
The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007 has been endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), the Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA), the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).