Rehberg Lauds House Passage of G.I. Bill, Troop Funding
Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, this week joined House colleagues in passing a House funding bill which would provide troops in Iraq and Afghanistan with the resources they need to succeed as well as expand educational benefits to America's service men and women.
"It's critical Congress continues to meet the needs of those who served our country," said Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. "This legislation provides those fighting overseas with the necessary tools to be successful while ensuring they have every opportunity to receive continued education once they return to civilian life. In other words, it covers all the bases and I'm glad to see we got it passed."
The Supplemental Appropriations Bill provides $165.4 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also included is a Rehberg-sponsored G.I. Bill which would make increased educational benefits available to all members of the military, who have served at least three months of active duty since September 11, 2001, and their families. Additionally, the legislation provides, for the first time, these benefits to members of the Reserves and National Guard who currently make up a greater percentage of America's Armed Forces than they have in the past.
"This bill is about supporting those who've sacrificed for our country," said Rehberg. "It's about providing veterans with a smooth transition from active duty to civilian life. And I'm proud to have worked to secure this essential funding."
What the bill would do for veterans in the state of Montana?
· Upfront tuition payments to any private/public university capped at the most expensive in-state public school tuition. Currently, Montana Tech has the highest tuition at $13,610 a year.
· Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program: Colleges providing veteran specific scholarships for tuition above $13,610 a year will be matched dollar for dollar by the new G.I. Bill.
· Living Stipend: Monthly stipend payments based on the local cost of living. The average monthly living stipend in Montana will be $888.
· Books Allowance: $1,000/year for books and supplies
· Extends Usage Time Period: Allows up to 15 years to use benefits (up from 10 yrs)