House Passes New GI Bill
Washington, DC – Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4) today released the below statement following House passage of the Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, which included provisions of legislation he authored to ensure Reserve and National Guard veterans receive equal benefits to their active duty counterparts:
“Today’s legislation will ensure that all those who have answered their nation’s call to serve are covered under the GI Bill, which has been assisting and encouraging veterans to pursue an education since 1944.
“I am very pleased that provisions of my Reserve Component Benefits Parity Act were included in the bill which will ensure veterans who served in the National Guard and the Reserve receive equal treatment to their active duty brothers and sisters. Mississippi has a strong tradition of supporting our veterans, and this is a big win for our Guard, Reserve and entire veteran community.”
H.R. 3218 is designed to make improvements to the GI bill, removing the arbitrary 15-year time limit on educational assistance and guaranteeing veterans the opportunity to use their GI bill benefits on their own timeline. The bill will also expand the GI bill budget for Reservists and Guardsmen, along with the dependents and spouses of veterans. Educational assistance will be offered to members of the armed forces who were awarded the Purple Heart and will ensure recovery of educational assistance if a veteran’s college or university closes before the end of a given semester. Most older veterans were previously covered under the Montgomery G.I. Bill, named after former Mississippi Congressman Sonny Montgomery, while younger veterans now receive post-9/11 benefits.
The bill also includes the education parity benefits in Rep. Palazzo’s legislation, H.R. 1384, that will ensure Guardsmen and Reservists deployed under certain orders are provided the same benefits as other service members. The legislation is strongly supported by the National Guard Association of the United States. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is planning to consider a Senate companion bill this week as well.