Costa Joins in Bipartisan Support for Forever GI Bill
Washington, DC – Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. R. 3218, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. The legislation is the largest update to the GI Bill since the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008, making extensive changes to the education benefits provisions. The bill is referred to as the “Forever GI Bill” due to its elimination of the 15 year deadline by which veterans must use their education benefits. In addition to allowing veterans access to their GI education benefits for life, the Forever GI Bill extends benefits granted under the Post-9/11 GI Bill to all Purple Heart recipients and to reservists and those in the national guard who served next to active duty troops, but who themselves were not technically active duty troops. The legislation also increases the amount dependents of veterans can receive in education benefits, which is one of the first significant increases to this benefit in decades.
“Our servicemen, servicewomen, and their families sacrifice so much to keep us safe and to protect our freedom, we must do everything we can to honor their sacrifice and commitment,” said Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), who cosponsored the legislation. “Yesterday the House of Representatives showed us how Congress can and should function, foregoing political posturing and coming together to pass well-crafted, bipartisan legislation. I hope to see the Forever GI bill pass through the U.S. Senate and be signed into law so our veterans and their families can get the benefits they deserve.”
The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 has strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, including 121 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle. The bill passed by a unanimous voice vote in the House Committee on Veterans Affairs on July 19th. It is supported by over 25 veterans service organizations and higher education organizations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), The American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and Student Veterans of America (SVA).