House Passes New GI Bill Benefits

House Passes New GI Bill Benefits
Susan Dutca-Lovell

By a unanimous vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Monday to expand Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Among other benefits, there will no longer be a 15-year limit on the use of postsecondary education benefits.

The 405-0 vote also favored legislation to restore benefits for those affected by closures of for-profit institutions like ITT and Corinthian Colleges, expand support for veterans seeking STEM degrees, and provide full eligibility for benefits for Purple Heart recipients. Previously, Purple Heart recipients had to serve at least three years to receive full access to GI Bill benefits. Additionally, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 would award up to $2,300 in additional tuition benefits and added housing allowance for National Guard members, survivors, and reservists.

The bill moved "swiftly through the chamber...all in a little over a week" and "no opposition to the bill was expressed during the brief floor debate;" an indication of "a rare display of bipartisanship" that "shows that 'when we get together, there is much we can do for this country.'" The Senate could very well take up and pass the bill this week and send it to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign before Congress takes its August recess.

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