Saturday, September 06, 2008

Can you oppose New G.I. Bill but still support veterans?

Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso did not support Sen. James Webb's New G.I. Bill for post-9/11 military veterans. But I found this curious item in Sen. Barrasso's Aug. 27 e-mail newsletter. Kind of odd that you can vote against veterans' benefits yet still claim to support Wyoming's veterans. Anyone know what this means?

GI Bill Education Benefits Can Transfer to Family Members

I recently joined Senate colleagues to force changes to the “GI Bill” to allow Wyoming military members to transfer their education benefits to their families. We won the day for the things Wyoming veterans told me were most important to them. Wyoming veterans wanted to be in a position to help their families. The transferability of education benefits will be a tremendous help to our service members and a great comfort to our military families.

As a matter of principal, it does not make sense to penalize service members who decide to make the military their career. The transferability provision provides the right incentive to our men and women in uniform. Service members can transfer their education benefits to their spouse and children. This recognizes the sacrifices made by both the military family and the service member. Studies show it will bolster recruitment and encourage service members to continue their military careers. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the original legislation would have hurt reenlistment by 16 percent.

1 comment:

NCCM USN(ret) said...

Webb's original bill did not include the family provision. Without those changes to the bill it would not have passed. In total very few members of the military (estimated around 10% used it, can't put my fingers on the actual number) ever used their Montgomery GI Bill benefits (post VEAP), believe it or not the GI Bill was breaking even because everyone who signed up for it payed the nonrefundable $1200 up front, was the cheapest recruiting tool out there! Everyone wasn't using it because they had no aspiration to go to school, a lot did while they were in utilizing tuition assistance which paid 75% of tuition a few years back and currently pays 100% tuition (has for a number of years now)

The new GI-bill is nice but I think it will only now be totally useful to veterans BECAUSE the addition the politician you mention and others ensured was in the Webb bill.

Hope that answers your question.