WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two US Army veterans have started a Care2 petition to oppose a proposed change to the GI Bill being considered by the House Veterans Affairs Committee. The proposal would require troops to pay more out of pocket to access their education benefits. Their petition opposing the proposal has gathered over 32,000 signatures.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee abruptly postponed a hearing this week to consider the proposal, which had been scheduled for Thursday.
The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, or GI Bill, signed into law by President George W. Bush, included funding that pays for 100 percent of a veteran’s expenses to attend a public four-year undergraduate school if that vet has served three years on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001.
VIEW THE CARE2 PETITION HERE: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/553/357/688/
Before 2009, troops could choose to pay a $1,200 non-reimbursable enrollment fee to receive education benefits. The new proposal would increase that fee to $2,400.
Care2 petition authors Crystal Bergfield and Dustin Judice say the proposal to impose new out-of-pocket fees on new enlistees is “unfair and un-American.”
“Congress is in a rush to finish a bill by Memorial Day and return to their districts and loudly trumpet how much they support the troops – but any efforts to move this bill forward by agreeing to increased fees on vets must be a non-starter,” Bergfield and Judice write. “You can’t support new taxes on soldiers’ benefits while claiming to support our troops.”
The proposal would offset taxpayer cost for the GI Bill by about $3.1 billion over the next 10 years, but Bergfield and Judice argue passing costs onto enlistees is unfair.
“Our military, while providing many benefits to our country and our service members, is stealing money from 18 year olds, who make so little while making great sacrifices each day for our nation,” writes Bergfield. “While I agree that budget cuts need to be made, starting with the education of the future of the United States is not the sign of an intelligent nation.”
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