Last week the House passed H.R. 5743, the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY13, which authorizes U.S. intelligence activities, both military and civilian. The House also passed H.R. 5854, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act for FY13. The bill provides funds for all non-emergency military construction projects and the Veterans Affairs Administration. The House also began consideration of the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill for FY13.
Celebrating 25 Years of the GI Bill
"June 1, 2012, marks the 25th anniversary of the first permanent Department of Veterans Affairs-administered Montgomery GI Bill. Enacted in 1987, the landmark New GI Bill Continuation Act offered a life changing incentive for veterans returning from active duty to the workforce. By offering veterans access to higher education, it both strengthened our national defense and helped revitalize our economy.
"The GI Bill has proved over the years to be a boon for many of our veterans. Veterans are able to return home with a plan for their future. The education they receive helps many enter the workforce and provide for themselves and for their families in ways that were not previously possible.
"This program has blessed our nation and continues to do so by benefiting not only veterans, but many sectors of the economy by injecting highly qualified individuals to the workforce and the community. Veterans are able to combine the skill sets they learn both from their schooling and from their military training to become excellent leaders and contributors to society. As I have said in the past -- hiring former service members for patriotic reasons expresses appreciation and respect. Hiring them for business reasons gets results.
"Our veterans fought to protect our freedoms and way of life, and as they serve our nation in its time of need, we must remember them in their time of need. Veterans have made tremendous sacrifices to preserve our way of life, and the American people are indebted to the men and women who served our nation. I am proud of the work Congress has done to improve veterans' benefits. It is important that we continue to honor our commitments to our nation's veterans through legislation that benefits them, like the Montgomery GI Bill.
"So as the former Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Benefits, and as a grateful American, I want to pay tribute to the tens of thousands of veterans in Idaho and the millions in the United States who have given us so much."
House Overwhelmingly Approves Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson praises legislation that supports veterans
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, praised the House passage of the H.R. 5854, the Fiscal Year 2013 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill.
H.R. 5854 funds the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Health Administration supporting a variety of veterans' programs, including medical care and treatment, compensation, pensions, and training and education. Funding provided by this bill also meets critical needs such as suicide-prevention services, Arlington National Cemetery expansion, and homeless veterans outreach.
"Our veterans have made tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedoms and we must work to ensure that they receive the benefits they were promised," said Simpson. "It is our responsibility to provide them with the care and services they earned and justly deserve."
The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill also provides essential funding for military construction and military medical facilities such as the new hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, the destination for our wounded troops evacuated from Afghanistan.
H.R. 5854 overwhelmingly passed the House late Thursday night by a vote of 407-12. It now awaits consideration in the Senate.