Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Bipartisan Coalition Introduce Legislation to Expand, Extend GI Bill
Washington, DC—Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), co-chair of the Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus, today joined the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees in introducing the bipartisan Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 to improve and extend GI Bill benefits granted to veterans, their surviving spouses and dependents.
The legislation would be applied to all new enlistees in the military, and would:
- Remove time restrictions to use the GI Bill, enabling future eligible recipients to use their GI bill benefits for their entire lives, as opposed to the current 15-year timeline
- Simplify the benefit for future servicemembers by consolidating the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill into a single program over time, which would reduce the VA’s administrative costs
- Provide significant increases in GI Bill funding for Reservists and Guardsmen, dependents, surviving spouses and surviving dependents
- Provide 100% GI Bill eligibility to Post 9/11 Purple Heart recipients
- Restore eligibility for servicemembers whose school closes in the middle of a semester and create a pilot program that would pay for veterans to take certain high technology courses.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “The GI Bill is one of the most important earned benefits that help set our troops up for success while in the service, and after they lay down the uniform. The legislation we introduced today will eliminate barriers and increase accessibility to make it easier for our troops, veterans and their dependents to get the education they’ve earned by enhancing existing benefits, correcting gaps in eligibility, and ensuring GI Bill benefits keep up with the 21st century economy. Last year in Hawaiʻi, more than 7,000 veterans used their earned education benefit to open the door to new opportunities for them and their family, and we must continue to build on this progress.”
Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has also introduced a number of bipartisan measures to improve the GI Bill and expand veterans’ access to education, including the:
- Veterans’ Entry to Apprenticeship Act to allow veterans to use their education benefits to enroll in apprenticeship programs
- Chris Kotch VA Education Access Act to ensure that anyone medically separated or medically retired from the Armed Forces would be eligible for the full Post 9-11 GI Bill benefit
- GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act to increase veterans’ access to affordable education by ensuring Post-9/11 GI Bill recipients are allowed to receive in-state tuition no matter what state they choose to pursue their education in
- Veterans Higher Education Opportunity Act to allow veterans who have served at least a six-month deployment to participate in the Federal Perkins Loan Forgiveness Program