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Friday, January 05, 2007

Sen. Jim Webb Leads Charge to Improve GI Bill

While not directly related to PTSD, restoring the educational benefits of today's GI Bill to WWII-era levels will certainly improve the lot for our returning troops -- and may very well reduce some of the post-deployment stress and strain that many of them face as they make their way back into our society. Improvements such as those introduced by freshman Sen. Jim Webb [D-VA] yesterday will provide these men and women a solid pathway to a better present -- and future.

With full tuition, room and board, and a monthly stipend of $1,000, they will have the opportunity to focus a bit on themselves, confident in the knowledge that we care about them and want to ensure their success. The WWII generation demanded no less be given to their soldiers and sailors, airmen and Marines upon their return home. Why should we?

Having the chance to go to school without worry over food or shelter or piled-on bills will greatly, greatly improve the current outlook and the future prognosis of today's service member.

It will also go far in improving our nation, too.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

From the American Chronicle:

The “Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2007” (S.22) is designed to provide veterans with a level of educational benefits identical to those provided to service members at the end of World War II.

The new benefits package included in Webb’s legislation would include coverage of tuition, room and board, and a monthly stipend of $1,000. Existing law – known as the Montgomery GI Bill – provides financial support of up to $800 per month for veterans’ educational expenses, but does not necessarily cover the full cost of higher education or career training. In addition, existing law requires participating service members to pay $1,200 in their first year of service in order to qualify for the benefit.

“The Montgomery GI Bill served this nation well during peacetime, but times have unfortunately changed,” Webb said. “The demands placed on soldiers and sailors in this post 9/11 era are much greater than when Congress established the current program. With many of our military members serving two or three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is past time to enact a new veterans’ education program modeled on the World War II era GI bill.

Webb goes on to say that the bill, S.22, was assigned a low number -- meaning that it is a top priority piece of legislation. He believes that enriching the GI Bill to WWII levels will be good for the soldier, yes, but also good for the nation:

Webb stressed that the GI Bill of the World War II era is universally credited with sparking economic growth and expansion for a whole generation of Americans, and he predicted that his proposal holds similar promise for today’s modern economy.

“Our nation has never erred when it made sustained new investments in higher education and job training,” he said. “The bill I have introduced today is not only the right thing to do for our men and women in uniform, but it is also strong tonic for an economy plagued by growing disparities in wealth, stagnant wages, and the outsourcing of American jobs.”

Please contact your senators today to ask them to sign onto this bill. It's time to get the engines of change moving in the right direction again.

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