Frelinghuysen Hails Passage of Bill to Support Troops and Their Families
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) today hailed House passage of legislation to provide needed funding for the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill also includes an historic increase in education benefits for military families.
"It's been a long time in coming, but this bill marks a major victory for our troops and their families," said Frelinghuysen. "Not only are we giving our dedicated warfighters the resources they need to fight and win in the Global War on Terror, we are also providing them and other veterans with a much-needed increase in educational benefits under a vastly improved GI Bill of Rights."
H.R. 2642 provides $165 billion for ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. "This funding is critical to continuing our military work and humanitarian efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan and for protecting our troops," said Rep. Frelinghuysen. "It is unfortunate that it has taken this long to provide it to them considering the Pentagon requested it nearly one and a half years ago. Despite the delay, it is an important bill that will help our servicemen and women carry out their work."
Another key provision in the legislation modernizes the current Montgomery GI Bill by extending new benefits to those serving and their families. The provision now provides transferability of education benefits. Under current law, education benefits earned through military service can only be used by the service member. H.R. 2642 will allow those benefits to be used by a spouse or child; a significant victory for military families.
A compromise was struck between two pieces of legislation that extend education benefits. The legislation introduced by Rep. Adam Putnam, and co-sponsored by Rep. Frelinghuysen, included a provision that allows servicemen and women to transfer their education benefits to a spouse or child. Rep. Frelinghuysen has been a staunch advocate of transferability of education benefits, and this added provision was critical to his support.
"The GI Bill has not been updated substantially since 1984," said Frelinghuysen. "It is our responsibility to give current and former service members the best benefits we are able to provide. As a veteran, I know how important the GI bill is to those who serve, and I am pleased we have finally improved benefits for our troops and their families."
H.R. 2642 also includes an extension of unemployment benefits without increasing taxes. The legislation will be considered by the United States Senate as soon as tomorrow.