Leading post-9/11 vets group continues call for Congress to not break trust of veterans
WASHINGTON (May 12, 2016) – Today, following the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs (SVAC) privately orchestrated reporting of the so-called “Veterans First” bill (S. 2921) — which includes a $3.4 billion cut to the Post-9/11 GI Bill — Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and its 425,000 members announced their objection to both the way the legislation will be paid for and the process by which it was moved to the Senate floor for vote. The cuts to the Post-9/11 GI Bill represent an historic breach of trust between Congress and veterans.
“As Congress quietly passed another bill cutting veterans education benefits, veterans are stuck having to beg for the benefits we earned,” said IAVA Chief of Staff Allison Jaslow. “Despite creating dialogue with Members of Congress and our members sending 29,000 messages to Congress, Sen. Isakson (R-Ga.), Sen. Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and their colleagues have ignored the veteran community. In a bill that is meant to add much needed accountability to the VA, both the full House and the SVAC have opted to do their business under the cover of anonymity. We fought hard eight years ago to get the Post-9/11 GI Bill passed and we will not quit fighting until Congress protects the benefits being earned on the battlefield as we speak.”
Today’s action comes on the heels of the February 9th voice-vote in the House, during which an omnibus bill (H.R. 3016) was passed that also included cuts to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. IAVA asks Senators that stand for open public process to oppose the Isakson-Blumenthal cut to the education benefits earned by our nation’s veterans.
Since IAVA launched the #DefendTheGIBill campaign in March 2016, IAVA members have sent nearly 29,000 messages to Congress asking representatives to oppose any cuts to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. In addition, every Member of Congress has been challenged to take the pledge to defend the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
IAVA led the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008 and in championing upgrades in 2010 and 2014. These upgrades simplified and improved tuition benefits, expanded eligibility to the National Guard, included vocational programs, and made nationwide in-state tuition rates a possibility for new veterans beginning this year.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill has been used by more than one million veterans and their family members to accomplish educational goals and chart new career paths.
Note to media: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.