In an exciting turn of events, an alliance of veteran organizations and Democratic lawmakers have taken a strong stance against any proposed cuts to the Post-9/1 GI Bill, even if the move abandons their own previous proposals.
The stance is against the measure taken up unanimously by the House earlier this year to cut down the stipend for dependents of veterans attending school on GI Bill benefits. According to the House, the move would allow the government to save up to $773 million in the upcoming ten years. It would also allow the government to fund other veteran initiatives.
According to Representative Tim Walz, D-Minn, ?This goes back on a promise that all of us here are unwilling to break. In the entire federal budget, there is nowhere else to fund [veterans] programs? That cannot stand.?
It should be noted here that students residing in costly cities such as New York or San Diego would have around $1,000 or $1,800 cut every month. It would not just affect students but also would affect the transferred benefit to families that are planning on the extra money in the future.
Moreover, the officials from Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans of America consider the move a breach of promise that was made earlier to the families of veterans to receive full benefit in times of need. In addition, they believe the move is about taking money from the GI Bill in order to fund outside programs.
According to them, the proposal is backstabbing veterans. They went ahead accusing lawmakers of considering the benefits as ?piggy bank? to be cashed anytime.
Paul Rieckhoff, CEO of IAVA, iterated, ?This is a whole new level of stupid, to cut the GI Bill in a time of war. This is about keeping a promise, investing in the future, about retention and recruiting and morale.?
He added, ?Find the money somewhere else. Either you?re with us or against us.?
Moreover, many officials from Student Veterans of America supported the protest, adding that the issue is a lot more complex than the House will admit.
Director of Policy for SVA, Derek Fronabarger, added, ?We need to remember who the Post-9/11 GI Bill was intended for: veterans.?
On the other hand, officials supporting the cut argued that the benefit is way too generous to children of troops, even allowing them to acquire housing stipends beyond their standard living costs. They added that the savings from these cuts will support other programs for veterans.
Joe Davis, the VFW national spokesman, said, ?The Veterans of Foreign Wars would never actively support any standalone provision that reduces benefits for veterans or service members, but we felt that [this bill], taken in its entirety, contained enough good provisions to support its passage.?
According to him, these cuts would fund programs such as improving postnatal care for female veterans, reauthorization of the veterans? work-study programs, expanded service animal therapy for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and improvements to VO home loan guarantees.