A bipartisan amendment to restore Tuition Assistance for service members, introduced by Senators Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK), passed the Senate today and was included in the final version of the six-month continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year. The House is expected to pass the legislation withoutfurther changes as soon as tomorrow.
"I'm so pleased that we came together, Democrats and Republicans, to pass this important amendment," Hagan said. "I'm proud to have worked with Senator Inhofe to restore Tuition Assistance for our servicemembers who sacrifice so much for our country day in and day out. We cannot balance our budget on the backs of service members, and this amendment to restore Tuition Assistance will help us keep the promises we've made to them. The brave men and women who serve in uniform have never given up on our country, and today the Senate signaled that we won't give up on them.
"This continuing resolution passed by the Senate will also mitigate the effects of sequestration on ourmilitary by funding additional priorities. As we work to get our fiscal house in order, I will continue to ensure that we do not make shortsighted cuts that harm our service members."
Last week, Hagan sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urging him to reconsider the suspension of Tuition Assistance. That letter can be read HERE.
Senators Hagan and Inhofe had also introduced a standalone bill to restore Tuition Assistance when it appeared that a vote the Inhofe-Hagan amendment would not occur this week.
Several prominent national groups have endorsed the Inhofe-Hagan amendment, including:
· Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)
· American Legion
· Marine Corps League
· American Military Retirees Association
· Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
· Non Commissioned Officer Association (NCOA)
· American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
In North Carolina, community colleges and families personally affected by the discontinuation of these funds have also endorsed the Inhofe-Hagan amendment.
The Inhofe-Hagan amendment as passed by the Senate prohibits Tuition Assistance funds from being reduced beyond the overall percentage by which the Services' Operations and Maintenance accounts are cut because of sequestration.