Senate Steps Up at the 11th Hour; House Follows Suit
Posted by Ramsey Sulayman on December 30
UPDATE: The House passed H.R. 4057 with a vote of 392 to 3. You can view the roll call vote here. House also passed S. 3202 with a vote of 393 to 0. You can see the roll call for the vote on S. 3202 here. Both bills now head to President Obama's desk for his signature.
Last night, the Senate passed two important pieces of veterans legislation; H.R. 4057, the Improving Transparency of Educational Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012, and S. 3202, a package of legislation that allows vets and their spouses to retake the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) that provides critical employment and transition services to veterans, and establishes a burn pit registry. The House (which has already passed versions of these bills) is up next for a final vote before the end of the year. Although this has been a difficult year to pass any legislation out of Congress, both bills are expected to be passed and sent to the President before the end of 2012.
H.R. 4057 will help vets and their families use their GI Bill more smartly and efficiently by providing access to clear information about student outcomes and the schools that they want to attend. Valuable information such as graduation and default rates will help student veterans determine what programs are worth their hard-earned GI Bill dollars. H.R. 4057 also prohibits schools from engaging in predatory recruiting practices, such as paying recruiters commissions or bonuses for each student they enroll. IAVA believes that H.R. 4057 goes a long way toward the goal of empowering student veterans and their families to make the right choices that will lead to educational achievement, success and a bright future.
S. 3202, the Dignified Burial of Veterans Act of 2012, contains amendments dealing with a variety of issues including establishing a burn pit registry and a pilot program to allow veterans and their spouses to re-take the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). These are items that IAVA has fought for all year and are important steps for Congress to take to help veterans deal with future health care concerns as well as finding more immediate employment.
Even though some important items have been checked off of IAVA’s holiday wish list there is still much to do. The 112th Congress ends on December 31st and it appears that they will pass significant legislation to help veterans and their families navigate some of the difficult challenges facing them. But, it looks like they will also leave plenty for the 113th Congress to do.
In 2013, IAVA will continue to work with Congress to pass critical legislation that ensures veterans’ health, education and employment issues are kept front and center.
Ramsey Sulayman is a Legislative Associate at IAVA, served in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps and works out of our Washington, D.C. office.
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