IAVA Letter to SVAC Chairman and Ranking Member re: Exclusion from Today’s SVAC Hearing

The following letter was delivered to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee regarding their decision to not invite IAVA to present an oral testimony on the GI Bill today, June 15, at 11 AM.

June 9, 2017

The Honorable Johnny Isakson
Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
U.S. Senate

The Honorable Jon Tester
Ranking Member
Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
U.S. Senate

Dear Chairman Isakson and Ranking Member Tester:

On behalf of our more than 425,000 members we request the opportunity to present oral testimony as a part of the June 15 hearing on pending Post-9/11 GI Bill-related bills.  While we appreciate the invitation to submit written testimony for the record, IAVA played a lead role in passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and our members expect to be involved in any congressional discussions regarding the future of this critical benefit to the fullest extent.

IAVA not only fought for the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008, but championed upgrades in 2010 and 2014.  In our most recent member survey, 66% of respondents have used or are using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, while another 24% intend to.  Our members want to continue to improve the GI Bill, but they also want to protect it.  In fact, 87% of respondents in that same survey oppose cuts to the post-9/11 GI Bill and should not be silenced.

In 2016, IAVA’s year-long campaign to ‘Defend the GI Bill’ killed over $4 billion in attempted cuts to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and last month stopped the GI Bill “tax” on troops in its tracks.  That fearless advocacy on behalf of veterans seeking educational opportunity, however, should be rewarded not punished.

IAVA is the leading veterans empowerment organization for the Post-9/11 generation of veterans and the GI Bill is arguably our generation’s most important veterans’ benefit.  Our seat at the table should be evident and what must be an oversight.

We look forward to your response and recognition of our members’ right to be heard.

Please feel free to contact me at 212-982-9699 or our Legislative Director, Tom Porter, at 202-544-7692 or

Very Respectfully,

Paul Rieckhoff
Iraq War Veteran
Founder and CEO

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