GI Bill Education Cuts Successfully Stalled as Senate Recesses
Washington, D.C. (September 20, 2016) – Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the leading voice for the Post-9/11 generation of veterans, scored another big win in the campaign to#DefendTheGIBill by stalling a shortsighted Senate bill containing approximately $3B in cuts to earned educational benefits.
This afternoon, the Senate passed the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government through the end of the year before recessing until December 6th. The CR was considered the last opportunity for the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) leadership to pass the so-called “Veterans First Act” before Congress leaves until election day in November. The bill includes plans to fund other priorities with $3.4 billion in cuts to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, amounting to almost $1,000 per veteran, per year. IAVA’s resolute opposition, driven by over 33,000 messages to Capitol Hill, dozens of grassroots events, multiple Congressional testimonies, and a massive earned and social media effort, has once again successfully stalled absurd bi-partisan Senate efforts to shift funding from the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
“Today, our critical fight to #DefendTheGIBill scored another important win. For months, IAVA members have raised their voices against these cuts, telling Congress our benefits will not be used as a piggy bank for other programs,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA. “We have continued to hold the line and will not be cowered. The message is clear: veterans will not be robbed of their benefits to pay for other government initiatives. IAVA will continue the fight to #DefendTheGIBill when Congress returns and until our elected officials stand with veterans and permanently eliminate these cuts from the bill.”
IAVA continues to call on SVAC leaders Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and all members of the Senate to remove the proposed cuts to the landmark GI Bill, which is critical to the education and career options for transitioning service members. IAVA also called on President Obama to clearly state his position on the issue in tonight’s CNN Town Hall event focused on veteran and military issues. The Post-9/11 GI Bill has been used by nearly one million veterans and their family members to accomplish educational goals and chart new career paths. IAVA continues to call on Congress to take a stand and pledge to #DefendTheGIBill and oppose any cuts to the benefits our veterans rely on. See a full list of Members of Congress in opposition to the cuts here.
IAVA member service programs have also served hundreds of thousands of veterans with one-on-one GI Bill support.