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Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Unknown


Mr. FILNER. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I also rise in support of H.R. 1383, as amended. I thank Chairman Miller for the work he has done on the bill to make sure it was palatable in both the House and the Senate.

Let me just say, though, for the record, the GI Bill updates which we passed last Congress were passed with the full support of virtually every veterans service organization in the Nation, the majority of which submitted letters of support and strongly advocated for the bill, which included this tuition cap which we have been talking about. Everyone was well aware of the effect of the tuition cap, so I was sort of surprised when these same folks started talking about what they called ``unintended consequences.'' I think everybody knew the consequences.

I know that many of our veterans made plans about their education based on the laws in effect before they started. And while most States ended up getting an increase with the new national average, a few States also saw a decrease. It is in these States that H.R. 1383, as amended, seeks to hold harmless our veterans from the so-called ``unintended consequences'' of the tuition cap.

Our veterans have indeed, as Chairman Miller pointed out, earned their education benefits, and I firmly believe that we should seek to avoid any actions that may interfere with the use of their benefits. I am pleased that we are here today taking action to alleviate this potential burden on a small population of these student veterans. The start of the new school year, of course, is right around the corner, so I hope that with our quick action today we will have this issue solved in time for the new academic year.

We have made quite a few changes to improve the so-called Post-9/11 GI Bill, and more changes are still being contemplated. As a veterans' committee and as a Congress, we must continue to work hard to ensure future changes do not delay or diminish benefits. Veterans are our priority, and we will protect their interests.

I have no further requests for time, Mr. Speaker, and I yield back the balance of my time.


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