June 20, 2008
Washington, D.C. -- Congressman Steve Chabot (R- Cincinnati) voted last night in support of a historic expansion of veterans' education benefits. The bipartisan modernization of the World War II-era Montgomery G.I. Bill passed the House overwhelmingly as a part of an amendment to a larger supplemental appropriations bill.
“I’m pleased that members of Congress were able to work together to provide this historic benefits package that our veterans and service members rightfully deserve, without saddling taxpayers and small business owners with a massive tax increase,” said Chabot, an original cosponsor of the Post-9/11 Veterans' Educational Assistance Act. House leaders had previously tried to tie the added veterans' benefits to a $51.6 billion tax increase, but were met with opposition by many members of the House and Senate.
Under the legislation passed last night, all members of the military who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001, including activated reservists and National Guard members, will receive up to four academic years of education benefits. These benefits will equal the cost of in-state tuition at a public institution of higher education, as well as stipends for housing and books. The veterans will have up to 15 years after they leave active duty to use their education benefits and have the option to transfer the expanded benefits to their child or spouse.
The supplemental appropriation legislation also included funding for several other military and veterans' programs. An additional $75 million was included for psychological health and traumatic brain injury treatment and $2.5 billion was added for FY 2008 and FY 2009 defense health programs.
In addition, the legislation contains a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits, and $2.65 billion in emergency disaster relief for those impacted by Midwest flooding and tornadoes are also included in the bill.