ROSKAM SUPPORTS PASSAGE OF VETERANS BENEFIT PACKAGE DEVOID OF TAX INCREASES
Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats Force Compromise, Pass G.I. Bill
Congressman Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) today supported the passage of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, better known as the G.I. Bill, which will expand educational benefits for the men and women of our Armed Forces who have served our nation since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Roskam highlighted bipartisan compromise as the lynchpin to its passage.
"Today our veterans who answered the call of duty after the attacks of September 11th can rest assured they will be rightly honored by a Congress and a nation grateful for their service," said Congressman Roskam. "The 21st Century G.I. Bill greatly expands educational benefits and opportunities beyond anything previously seen. Despite weeks of partisanship and grandstanding, this Congress advanced a bill that supports our troops while respecting the taxpayer. This is what I call a win-win for our veterans and the American people."
Passage of the G.I. bill marks the second attempt to push this piece of legislation through Congress. Earlier this year, Speaker Nancy Pelosi coupled the G.I. Bill with a $51.6 billion tax increase on small business owners, alienating fiscally responsible members.
"While this bill doesn't represent exactly what both sides of the aisle want, it does demonstrate the ability and success this Congress has when negotiations include civility and compromise," continued Congressman Roskam. "This Congress' greatest achievements, including the bipartisan Energy Bill, have only come when partisanship was left at the negotiation door."
Highlights of the bill include:
Provides for educational benefits to be paid in amounts linked to the amount of active duty served in the military after 9/11.
Benefits provided under the bill would allow veterans pursuing an approved program of education to receive payments covering the established charges of their program, up to the cost of the most expensive in-state public school, plus a monthly stipend equivalent to housing costs in their area.
Creates a new program in which the government will agree to match, dollar for dollar, any voluntary additional contributions to veterans from institutions whose tuition is more expensive than the maximum educational assistance provided under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.
Veterans would have up to fifteen years, compared to ten years under the Montgomery G.I. Bill, after they leave active duty to use their educational assistance entitlement.