NAICU Washington Update

House Plans to Add Vet Benefits to Supplemental Bill

The push for expanded GI Bill benefits continues to gain momentum (See WIR, 4/28/08). The House leadership has indicated its intention to include additional funding for veteran's education programs in the non-defense portion of the spending package to be considered by Congress later this month.

This comes on the heels of an April 29 rally at the U.S. Capitol, where several student veterans described their past combat experience and their current challenges in getting a college education. Also addressing the rally were House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and the principal bi-partisan sponsors of the "Post 9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act" in the Senate and House.

NAICU President David Warren and a large contingent of NAICU staff represented private colleges at the gathering, along with many of the veterans' and higher education organizations that comprise the Partnership for Veterans Education.

NAICU Staff Support GI Bill

Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.) issued a news release announcing the support of 11 higher education organizations for the expanded GI Bill effort, quoting NAICU President David Warren as saying, "America has a proud tradition of helping veterans access higher education. We encourage the House to include H.R. 5740, the Post 9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act, in the supplemental appropriations bill to ensure that veterans can receive full higher education benefits."

A majority of members in both the House and Senate have endorsed the bill. Currently, 265 members have signed on to the House bill (H.R. 5740), and the Senate bill (S. 22) has 57 cosponsors. However, plans to include it in the supplemental appropriations bill are being resisted by the fiscally conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats in the House, who argue that the cost of the measure must be offset under budget "pay-as-you-go" rules.

MORE News from NAICU