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Honoring Those Who Have Served and Sacrificed

Op-Ed

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HONORING THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED AND SACRIFICED

As Americans observe the Memorial Day holiday, you may be thinking of a long weekends, traveling to visit friends and family, or a backyard barbeque. Memorial Day is also an important opportunity to commemorate our nation's veterans, who have engaged in one of the noblest forms of public service - defending this country.

We enjoy rights and freedoms unmatched by any other nation in the world and our brave servicemen and women have served throughout history to help make that so. For their service, we in turn have a responsibility to ensure that our troops are sufficiently provided for when they return home.

One important benefit for veterans is the Montgomery G.I. Bill, which provides funding for education and training to veterans after their service. With the increasing costs of education, it is critical to update the benefits that veterans are eligible to receive.

That is why I am proud to be a cosponsor of two important pieces of legislation to do just that. I am a strong supporter of the Enhancement of Recruitment, Retention and Readjustment Through Education Act and the Veterans Education Improvement Act. Both of these bills enhance the existing G.I. Bill, which has not been updated in nearly 25 years, by improving education benefits for service members, veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve.

Additionally, I call on the Democrat Leadership in the House to bring legislation to update the G.I. Bill to the House floor for a vote. Recently, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, commonly referred to as the "Webb Bill", was brought before the House. Unfortunately, the Democrat Leadership took a good bill which would have extended educational benefits to all members of the military who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001, including activated reservists and National Guard and strangled it with more than $50 billion in new taxes on small businesses. While I strongly support expanding the current G.I. Bill, attaching tax increases on small business owners, many of whom are veterans themselves or create jobs for veterans is the wrong way to go. This past week the United States Senate passed the "Webb Bill" without attaching the egregious tax increases. I look forward taking up that measure in the House.

American veterans put the needs of their country before their very own and served for the good of fellow countrymen and women. We have made significant strides to better meet the needs of our veterans, but our work is not finished. On this Memorial Day, let us take a moment to thank the members of our armed services, those who have completed their service and those still engaged in protecting our nation's freedoms. Protecting those freedoms is not an easy job and we are truly grateful for the sacrifices made by our fellow Americans to defend our nation and allow all of us to continue to enjoy the liberties of our great country.


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