Federal legislation that is intended for extending the GI Bill benefits for veterans and their dependents was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last Tuesday morning, Guam time, Northern Mariana Islands Del. That was according to an announcement made by Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan.
The bi-partisan measure, the “Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017,” will eliminate the current limit of 15-years for veterans, hence giving the veterans a chance to utilize the advantages of the education benefits that are currently offered under the GI Bill. It will also allow the veterans to use the tuition assistance offered as so long as they live.
Sablan, one of the members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and also the co-sponsor of the bill, commented that he had been approached by veterans, reservists and National Guard members who reside in the CNMI, they were seeking help. Sablan said the Bill is also able to address the constituent concerns that a veteran might have. He even referred to some veterans who had successfully enrolled in academic institutions but then when the schools closed they lost their education benefits.
Sablan said that the bill will give Veterans a chance to continue with their education.
The bill will also offer assistance to the Post-9/11 Reservists and National Guardsmen who were unable to get any education benefits despite being on active duty. Veterans who have less than 3 years of qualifying active duty service will be awarded a 50% percent increase of the maximum total amount payable.
Rodney Cruz Jr., president and founder of the Iraq-Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Veterans of the Pacific organization, released a statement saying that the bill will prove to be very helpful to many veterans in the coming years. He also said the bill would help a lot more veterans in the future. Ranking House Veterans’ Affairs member Tim Walz commented on the Bill saying it goes an extra mile in extending benefits. Walz, who is a Minnesota Democrat, said in a statement that GI Bill will make the lives of current and future generations of veterans much better as it will be able to correct the large gap in eligibility and offer new benefits without forcing the troops or the American tax payers to pay more taxes.