New GI Bill Unanimously Passes House, Heads to Senate

Rebecca Barbier
Julho 26, 2017

House lawmakers rejected a budget plan Monday that includes boosting the Veterans Choice Program by rerouting funds from other places in the Veterans Affairs department, reports The New York Times.

Sablan also commended the veterans service organizations that worked with the committee to ensure that America honored the promises made to those who have service in the armed forces.

The proposal by the House Veterans Affairs Committee would provide a six-month funding fix to the Choice program, which offers veterans federally paid medical care outside the VA.

The Republican leaders were apparently confident that the funding would pass easily, as they brought it up as a suspension bill, which would have allowed them to pass it more quickly with a two-thirds majority vote. Despite sufficient funding earlier last spring, VA has burned through the money citing increased usage of the program. Under our proposal, when returning veterans are able to access the educational benefits included in the Post-9/11 GI Bill, they will be better equipped to pursue a successful career in a competitive job market.

Democratic Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota criticized the proposed cuts to other parts of the VA. "Without it, I may not be a member of Congress right now", Mast said. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is planning to consider a Senate companion bill this week as well.

Veterans Choice was then created as a temporary fix to allow some veterans access to non-VA health care in their community.

Trump's about turn on Yellen
But since winning the election, Trump has avoided criticizing Yellen, saying that he respects her and likes her low-rate policies. Trump said he could also decide to reappoint Fed Chair Janet Yellen to a four-year term when her term expires early next year.

"It is not a budget for privatization", he said in a July 24 speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention. VFW National Commander Brian Duffy said it would lead to higher out of pocket costs for veterans and harm their care. Eight major veterans' groups including VFW issued a joint statement over the weekend, expressing their opposition and displeasure after the House plan was quietly released last Friday after days of closed-door negotiations.

About half of those use the VA system.

Also on Monday, the House approved a bill to significantly expand college aid for military veterans, removing a 15-year time limit to tap into educational aid and increasing benefits for thousands in the National Guard and Reserve.

The VA worries that the funding for the program will expire in mid-August rather than at the end of the current fiscal year.

She said, "Unfortunately, the legislation considered this evening would not have improved the Veterans Health Administration at a time when we need to be bolstering support for our veterans".

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