Senate takes first step on ‘Forever’ GI Bill

gettyimages 693536360 1 Senate takes first step on Forever GI Bill

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committe raning member Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) (L) and Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-GA) question Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin during a hearing in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill June 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Matt Saintsing

The ‘Forever’ GI Bill was introduced in the Senate Thursday, suggesting little resistance on its way to becoming law.

The legislation introduced Thursday by Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Johnny Isakson, R-GA., and ranking member Jon Tester, (D-MT) is the Senate’s first step on approving the expanded education benefits.

“We have worked closely with our partners in the veterans community and with our colleagues in the U.S. House to ensure this legislation makes the necessary changes to improve the G.I. Bill and helps veterans succeed in their desired career field,” said Isakson.

READ: How the ‘Forever’ GI Bill came back from the dead

“I am proud to introduce this important legislation with Senator Tester after the House introduced its companion legislation last week. We urge our Senate colleagues to join us in supporting these improvements to the G.I. Bill to help further our investment in the futures of our veterans.”

“It’s been a pleasure working with my colleagues in the House and Senate, as well as veterans and advocates, to craft bipartisan legislation that will break down barriers to and strengthen education benefits for service members, Guardsmen and Reservists. I look forward to working with Senator Isakson and our colleagues on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to ensure veterans have every shot at success,” added Tester.

The bill would remove the 15-year time limit for veterans to use their GI Bill benefits, and expand eligibility for several groups. Purple Heart recipients who have not met the requisite time in service requirements, Reservists deployed under specific reserve duty orders, and survivor using benefits from a family member killed in action all stand to gain the full scope of GI Bill benefits.

READ: ‘Forever’ GI Bill is the largest expansion of GI Bill benefits in a decade

After quickly sailing out of committee in the House, majority leader Kevin McCarthy R-Calif., previously said the chamber will vote on the measure sometime next week.

The Senate version of the ‘Forever’ GI Bill enjoys broad bipartisan support as 16 of the 33 co-sponsors are Democrats. No timeline has been announced as to when the committee or full Senate may vote on the legislation.

Connect: @MattBSaintsing | Matt@ConnectingVets.com

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