Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the VA's Plans to Outsource the GI Bill
U.S. Senator Barack Obama today released the following statement on reports that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is in the process of outsourcing the development, implementation, and management of the recently passed GI Bill, which would expand education benefits to returning veterans and their families.
"America's service members deserve nothing less than the best health care, employment support, and education benefits when they return home. I was proud to vote for the GI Bill this summer, which would give a new generation of veterans a chance at an affordable education.
"Unfortunately, recent reports indicate that the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to outsource the development, implementation, operations and management of the GI Bill. Given this administration's abysmal record of outsourcing important governmental functions and failing to manage private contractors, we cannot afford to gamble on the implementation of this important program. The employees of the VA, which has a preference for hiring America's veterans, should have responsibility for putting the new GI Bill into effect.
"This bill should be about doing what's right for our heroes who have sacrificed so much for us. It shouldn't be about politics. While I was baffled that President Bush and his most ardent followers opposed the bill for months, I'm glad that the President finally decided to sign this legislation. However, his commitment to this important program is called into question when he leaves all aspects of the implementation up to unaccountable private contractors. We should not be gambling this way with our veterans' futures.
"Our nation's heroes deserve the highest standards for efficiency, integrity, confidentiality, and continuity of our veterans programs. I expect the Administration and its supporters in Congress to make accountability a top priority for the GI Bill."