Congressman Matheson believes we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our men and women in uniform--active duty, Reserve and National Guard, and veterans. As a nation, he believes we must keep our promises to those who have served and to their survivors.
In June 2008, a modernized GI Bill passed Congress and was signed by the President. It fully restores four-year college scholarships for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Also included in this legislation was Matheson's bill correcting a technicality that prevented Guard and Reservists--returning from multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan--from receiving educational benefits.
Additionally, Matheson has supported legislation to increase veteran disability compensation and clothing allowances for individuals with service-related disabilities as well as legislation to repeal the so-called "widow's tax" that prevents our nation's war survivors from fully collecting insurance benefits for policies purchased by their deceased spouses.
Families saying final goodbyes to their fallen soldier should be able to conduct the service in peace and with dignity and respect. Matheson has introduced a bipartisan bill--the Sanctity of Eternal Rest for Veterans or SERVE Act, as a way to protect military funerals from disruption by outside groups. The bill is a response to an 8 to 1 Supreme Court ruling that decided a grieving father's pain over mocking protests at his Marine son's funeral must yield to First Amendment protections for free speech. The SERVE Act would increase the quiet time before and after military funeral services and increase the buffer zone around the military service and along the route to the funeral service area. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate.