NEW YORK, NY (December 12, 2016) – The year-long campaign to #DefendtheGIBill by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) effectively killed the over $4 billion in attempted cuts to the Post-9/11 GI Bill in the 114th Congress. IAVA’s campaign to #PayThemBack also saw success with aid for California Guardsmen impacted by the bonus recoupment scandal included in Congress’ annual defense bill. Both wins come following IAVA’s recent “Storm the Hill,” timed specifically to help push these initiatives across the finish line.
“Our members stood tall last week on Capitol Hill, showing that we will not back down when our brothers and sisters are in need. And it worked,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA. “Today, we celebrate the fact that our voices were heard as Congress packs up for the year. The campaign to #DefendtheGIBill has killed attempts by politicians to make enormous cuts to the landmark education benefit promised to our newest veterans.”
The Post-9/11 GI Bill has been used at least 1.5 million veterans and their family members to accomplish educational goals and chart new career paths. Since February 2016, IAVA members have sent over 33,000 letters to Congress asking representatives to oppose any cuts to the GI Bill. IAVA staff and members have held meetings with more than 200 Congressional offices in the campaign to #DefendTheGIBill, gaining support from members of the House and Senate on both sides of the aisle.
“Our fight will continue into the new Congress,” continued Rieckhoff. “We will be relentless in our pursuit to ensure the bonus clawback scandal is fixed not only for California servicemembers, but for all those that may have been impacted nationwide. And we will be ready to #DefendTheGIBill against any politician that attempts to break this promise to our newest generation of veterans.”
The significant progress made in 2016 on critical issues to veterans and their families through Storm the Hill, #DefendTheGIBill and #PayThemBack only serve as a prelude to the work ahead for IAVA in 2017. With a new administration and cabinet members to contend with, IAVA efforts to protect veterans benefits and shed light on issues important to our community will continue to grow and expand and IAVA will continue to be the leading voice of the post-9/11 generation of veterans.
IAVA is the leading voice of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in Washington and communities nationwide. Led by veterans, our non-partisan advocacy work ensures that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families are supported, protected and never forgotten. Since 2004, IAVA has been a juggernaut in Washington, creating and driving the national conversation on issues ranging from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) to women veteran issues to veteran unemployment. IAVA’s dedicated staff in Washington, D.C. leads this work, advocating on behalf of our members daily. We also train our member veterans to be powerful advocates for their local community.
IAVA is focused on results and has delivered historic impacts. Every year since 2007, in an increasingly gridlocked political environment and with an extremely limited operating budget, IAVA has passed at least one major piece of groundbreaking legislation for our community ranging from the Post-9/11 GI Bill (2008), to the VOW to Hire Heroes Act (2011), to The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act (2015).
See IAVA’s Advocacy Program Digital Hub the full list of victories and to learn more about how you can help.
Note to media: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with 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 15th anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 8,000 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.