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Ensuring the Well-Being of Veterans

Location: Washington, DC

ENSURING THE WELL-BEING OF VETERANS -- (Extensions of Remarks - June 28, 2005)

TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 2005

* Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker and colleagues, I rise today to urge support for two bills that I have introduced that address the needs of our veterans. We have recently celebrated Flag Day, and I believe an appropriate way to celebrate Flag Day is to introduce bills that will help veterans in pursuing their education and gaining admission to state veterans homes.

* My bill, H.R. 2365, the ``Montgomery GI Bill Flexibility Act'', improves education benefits. An important piece of the Fiscal Year 2003 Defense Authorization bill that Congress passed was a provision that extends the time limit from 10 to 14 years for members of the Selected Reserve to use their GI Bill education benefits. Life in 2005 can make it difficult to finish an education in 10 years. Many times, veterans with families, work commitments, and economic difficulties are unable to fulfill all their requirements to receive a degree or certification within the 10-year period, and Congress recognized this difficulty for members of the Selected Reserve. It is time to extend the number of years for all participants of the Montgomery GI Bill.

* A veteran who is interested in seeing H.R. 2365 pass writes: ``I served 8 years of active duty in the Army, including the Persian Gulf War. I am also a family member of an active duty service member. In support of my husband's military career, I have moved six times, currently planning move number 7, in the past 9 years. That, coupled with three babies, has made it difficult for me to use my GI Bill benefits.'' H.R. 2365 will ensure that more veterans are able to avail themselves of the educational opportunity that they have earned.

* I have also introduced H.R. 3009, ``A Guaranteed Home For Our Veterans Act'', to address a problem that has been called to my attention by my constituents. One was told by his state veterans home in California that if he chose to transfer to his home state of Minnesota, he would have to wait a year in order to establish state residency before being accepted. Veterans should be able to transfer to any other state veterans home on a space-available basis. H.R. 3009 would make that change to save veterans from severe hardships if they want to move to be closer to their families.

* Better Long Term Care and Education Benefits for our nation's veterans! I urge my colleagues to support these veterans' bills.

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