The largest expansion of GI Bill benefits in nearly a decade passed the House unanimously Monday night just nine days after it the bill was introduced.
The 405-0 vote of The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2017 would make drastic changes to the GI BIll including removing the 15-year window for veterans to use their educational benefits. Additionally, the bill would expand benefits to groups including Purple Heart recipients.
Rep. Phil Roe, (R-TN), the Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, lauded the bipartisan spirit and engagement veterans’ organizations.
“Time and time again, the members of the House have come together across party lines to put our nation’s heroes first, and this bill is no exception.
I thank my colleagues and Veterans Service Organizations for their hard work to make the Forever GI Bill a reality, and I look forward to getting it to President Trump’s desk without delay,” said Roe.
The committee’s ranking member, Rep. Tim Walz, D-MN., praised equally the legislation and the process of passing these critical reforms. “A lot of hard work and deliberation went into crafting this legislation and I want to thank the Members on both sides of the aisle as well as our well-respected veterans service organizations (VSOs) for their help in crafting this legislation and for their commitment to our nation’s veterans and military families,” Walz said in a statement.
Companion legislation was introduced last week by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-GA., and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the leadership of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. The Senate committee will vote on the bill Wednesday—if approved, the bill would then move to the Senate floor for a vote.