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Blumenthal Applauds Bipartisan Committee Passage of Comprehensive G.I. Bill Reforms

Bicameral, bipartisan measure includes Blumenthal provision to restore education benefits to veterans affected by sudden school closures

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, applauded the committee passage of bipartisan legislation that seeks to improve veterans’ education benefits and expand the post-9/11 G.I. Bill. The comprehensive legislation includes a provision based on legislation Blumenthal introduced to restore education benefits to veterans who lost Post-9/11 GI Bill entitlement after recent school closures, including the abrupt closures of Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institutes. The legislation will now be considered for passage by the full Senate.

“I will continue to champion the passage of this bipartisan, bicameral legislation as it moves to the full Senate. This measure includes crucial support for our nation’s veterans as they transition from military to civilian life and expands education benefits to reservists, surviving family members, and Purple Heart recipients. We must act now to restore education benefits to students who lost Post-9/11 entitlement after unexpected school closures and equip veterans to achieve their educational goals.”

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act makes much-needed updates for reservists, Purple Heart recipients, and surviving family members and eliminates the arbitrary 15-year period within which a veteran is required to use their G.I. Bill so they can use their benefits at any time in their professional career. Most significantly, this bill recognizes our country’s need for an agile and adaptable workforce and that American workers need to be lifelong learners.

Additionally, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act:

  • Provides G.I. Bill eligibility for reservists mobilized under selected reserve orders for preplanned missions in support of the combatant commands or in response to a major disaster or emergency;
  • Provides G.I. Bill eligibility for reservists undergoing medical care;
  • Provides full G.I. Bill benefits for Purple Heart recipients regardless of length of service;
  • Extends Yellow Ribbon Program benefits to Fry scholarship recipients; and
  • Increases G.I. Bill payments by $2,300 per year for veterans with less than 12 months of active service.
  • A one-page summary of the legislation can be found here.

The legislation is named in honor of Harry Walter Colmery, an Army Air Service veteran and former national commander of the American Legion who drafted the original G.I. Bill in 1944 to improve the transition for World War II veterans back to civilian life.

In addition to Blumenthal, Isakson, and Tester, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Al Franken (D-MN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jim Inhofe (R-OK),Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA),

Companion legislation passed the House of Representatives, 405-0 earlier this week. The House measure was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Phil Roe (R-TN) and Tim Walz (D-MN), chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on July 13. Congresswoman Esty (D-CT) is also an original cosponsor of the House companion.