Obama Hails Passage of Improved Post-9/11 GI Bill
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2010 President Barack Obama said he’s pleased that the House today joined the Senate in passing a bill that expands and improves the Post-9/11 GI Bill that took effect last year, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today.
The House voted an overwhelming 409 to 3 in support of the legislation, which simplifies and improves educational benefits for veterans who have served since Sept. 11, 2001.
Among its new measures, it:
-- Enables veterans to use their benefit for vocational and on-the-job training and distance learning programs;
-- Expands eligibility for the benefit to National Guardsmen activated for domestic assistance;
-- Provides active-duty troops additional assistance to purchase books; Extends the time severely injured veterans and their caregivers have to use their benefits; and
-- Streamlines the application and benefits award processes.
Obama is expected to sign the bill into law by the year’s end. It would take effect in August.
Gibbs noted that these simplifications and improved benefits will be provided in a “fiscally responsible way,” and said the administration will work with Congress to continue improving this important program.
“The president strongly believes that our nation has a sacred trust with our veterans, and this act will help those who have served their country,” he said.
Veterans organizations lauded today’s House vote, noting that it better serves those who have served in the armed forces after Sept. 11, 2001.
“This is great news,” said Jimmie L. Foster, national commander of The American Legion. “This bill rectifies the inequities and shortcomings of the well-intentioned but incomplete Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and makes it whole.”