July 26, 2017

Manchin Applauds Committee Passage of Comprehensive G.I. Bill Reforms

Broad, bipartisan measure gains VA Committee approval to make necessary improvements to post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits for student veterans

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauded the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs’ approval of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, of which he is an original cosponsor. The legislation works to improve the post-9/11 G.I Bill and veterans’ educational benefits. Two bills previously co-sponsored by Senator Manchin, S. 667 and S. 882, are included in this bill.  These two provisions expand GI benefits for members of the Reserve Component and Purple Heart recipients.

“Our veterans, many of whom are from West Virginia, deserve the ability to transition effectively into civilian life by obtaining a higher education degree,” said Senator Manchin, member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. “This bi-partisan package, passed through the VA Committee, is now one step closer to making obtaining that education even easier. I thank the entire committee for passing this legislation, and I urge its quick passage on the Senate floor.”

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 makes much-needed updates for veterans who face school closures while enrolled and surviving family members. The legislation also provides increased resources and authority for educational assistance to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs, computer programming and career technical training. This bill eliminates the 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. 

Additionally, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017:

  • Provides G.I. Bill eligibility for reservists undergoing medical care;
  • 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.

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.

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 is also co-sponsored Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., John Boozman, R-Ark., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Shelley Moore-Capito, R-W.V., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Susan Collins, R-Maine, John Cornyn, R-Texas, Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Steve Daines, R-Mont., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Al Franken, D-Minn., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Dean Heller, R-Nev., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Tim Kaine, D-Va., John Kennedy, R-La., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Patty Murray, D-Wash., Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Tom Udall, D-N.M., Elizabeth Warren, D-Ma.,  John McCain, R-A.Z. Mark Warner, D-V.A.,  Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Ed Markey, D-Ma.