THE ENHANCEMENT OF RECRUITMENT, RETENTION, AND READJUSTMENT THROUGH EDUCATION ACT OF 2008 -- (Extensions of Remarks - May 08, 2008)
Madam Speaker, we are forever indebted to the brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines of our Armed Forces who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom. Though we can never truly repay the debt we owe them, we have a solemn duty to honor their service with more than mere words.
One important benefit for veterans is the Montgomery G.I. Bill, which provides funding for education and training to veterans after their service. Since its inception, the Montgomery G.I. Bill has helped millions of service members. But, Mr. Speaker, it's long past the time when we should modernize this important law.
Today, with my colleagues, I introduced The Enhancement of Recruitment, Retention, and Readjustment Through Education Act of 2008. This legislation enhances the existing G.I. Bill by improving education benefits for servicemembers, veterans, and members of the Guard and Reserve. The legislation will help more military personnel attend college debt free, and allow them to transfer their education benefits to their spouse or children. It also bolsters recruitment and retention efforts, encouraging servicemembers to continue their military careers in support ofthe all-volunteer force of today. Specifically this legislation would:
Provide an immediate increase in education benefits for active duty personnel to $1500 a month, and to improve retention, those benefits increase to $2000 a month after 12 or more years of service.
Significantly increase benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserves.
Provide transferability, allowing service members to transfer their education benefits to dependents. After 6 years of service, half of the benefit may be transferred and after 12 years of service 100 percent may be transferred to a spouse or dependent children.
Allow servicemembers to use up to $6,000 per year of G.I. Bill education benefits to repay Federal student loans.
Create a matching program to help more veterans graduate debt-free. Up to an additional $3,000 per year could be paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs in return.
Allow access to Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits for service academy graduates and Senior Reserve Officers' Training Corps officers who continue serving.
Build on existing educational benefits program to ensure rapid implementation with minimal additional administrative costs.
On behalf of the over 30 million veterans in the United States who stand to benefit, I am very excited to introduce this legislation. While we can never fully repay the service and sacrifice so many brave Americans have made and continue to make on behalf of our nation, we must ensure they receive access to the kind of benefits they deserve.