U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), co-chair of the Senate Military Family Caucus, joined Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Al Franken (D-MN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mark Begich (D-AK), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) today to introduce the GI Bill Protection Act of 2013, legislation that would permanently prohibit the inappropriate and misleading use of the phrase "GI Bill" in the marketing materials of for-profit colleges or universities.
"Congress must take action to end--once and for all--the predatory practices that for-profit schools use to target our veterans," Senator Boxer said. "The brave men and women who have served our country deserve to have the most accurate, comprehensive information about their education benefits so they can make informed decisions about their futures."
Senator Boxer has been a leader in the effort to combat the problem of misleading advertisements and marketing practices aimed at veterans. In March 2012, she led a group of 14 Senators in asking Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki to file a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the phrase "GI Bill." Last December, the VA announced that the phrase "GI Bill" is now a registered trademark under the sole ownership of the VA.
However, trademark protection is not permanently guaranteed and the VA must actively police the trademark and pursue those who are infringing on its trademark rights or the protection could expire. The GI Bill Protection Act of 2013 would ensure that this protection remains in place permanently under the law. Congress has taken similar action to permanently protect phrases such as "American Veterans," and the names of federal benefit programs like "Medicare" and "Social Security" in order to prevent their misuse.
The GI Bill of Rights--which marks its 69th anniversary on June 22--established benefits for veterans returning from World War II, including funding for veterans to pay tuition and living expenses while attending college, high school or vocational education.
Senator Boxer introduced similar legislation in the 112th Congress that was passed by voice vote in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. The bill has been endorsed by the Military Officers Association of America and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.