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Congressman Denny Heck applauds expansion of GI Bill

Press Release

Date: July 24, 2017
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Representative Denny Heck (WA-10) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Harry M. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2017 to improve and extend education benefits provided to veterans:

"There is no doubt that the 10th Congressional district has thrived due to veterans, their families, and the survivors of the fallen. We are honored to call them our coworkers, students, coaches, and neighbors. As we seek to grow our economy, the best path forward is to build on the success of the GI Bill by making common sense improvements that help the VA administer the program effectively while also making it equitable for qualified recipients.

"I am particularly encouraged by the VA High Technology Pilot Program and Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship. The VA High Technology Pilot Program would provide veterans the opportunity to enroll in coding boot camps or information technology courses and the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship supports a fifth year of study for veterans pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, or math. These steps will help connect high-potential veterans with Pacific Northwest employers facing a growing shortage of workers with those skills."

"This bill significantly expands the GI Bill by allowing more time to use the benefits, as well as providing more resources for reservists, guard soldiers, dependents and surviving family members. We are properly honoring our promises to these men and women who sacrificed so much for our country, while also enabling the best tools we have to grow our economy sustainably over the long-term."

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2017 is named after the principal architect of the original GI Bill, which was enacted in 1944. This bill allows future eligible recipients to use their GI bill benefits for their entire lives, as opposed to the current 15-year timeline. It would also simplify the benefit for future servicemembers by consolidating the GI Bill into a single program over time, which would reduce the VA's administrative costs. The legislation provides significant increases in GI Bill funding for Reservists and Guardsmen, dependents, surviving spouses and surviving dependents, and provides 100 percent GI Bill eligibility to Post 9/11 Purple Heart recipients. In addition, this bill restores eligibility for servicemembers whose school closes in the middle of a semester and creates a pilot program that would pay for veterans to take certain high technology courses.