House Veterans Committee Passes Sweeping “Forever GI Bill” Reforms, including Rep. Peters’ Purple Heart Bill
Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) and the House Veterans Affairs Committee voted unanimously to pass a sweeping reform of veterans education benefits that has been dubbed the ‘Forever G.I. Bill’. These bipartisan reforms include a provision written by Rep. Peters to give full education benefits to all Purple Heart recipients, regardless of their length of active-duty service. Rep. Peters is an original co-sponsor of the Forever GI Bill, which would also end the 15-year time limit on using GI Bill education benefits for new enlistees, provide greater parity for National Guardsmen and reservists, and restore benefits to veterans who attend colleges that shut down in the middle of a semester – including for those veterans who were disrupted by the ITT Tech and Corinthian closures last year.
G.I. Bill benefits are based on a rating system, with 36 months of active-duty service required for a 100% rating. One out of every five Purple Heart veterans from the War on Terror who is using G.I. benefits does not qualify for the full rating, and others are discouraged from pursuing an education at all because their benefit doesn’t cover the full cost of attending. As included in the Forever G.I. Bill, Rep. Peters’ legislation will help an estimated 660 Purple Heart veterans per year pursue a college degree or job training.
“'At our time of greatest need, Purple Heart heroes fought and bled for us. Their battle scars meet the service requirement; they have unquestionably earned these benefits, and now they are going to get them,” said Rep. Scott Peters.
"MOPH fully understands why there is a minimum service requirement for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. However, we firmly believe that any veteran who shed their blood for our country has fully met that requirement,” said Aleks Morosky, National Legislative Director for the Military Order of the Purple Heart. “Unfortunately, many Purple Heart recipients don't fully qualify for those benefits today, preventing them from reaching their academic goals after their wounds have healed. The landmark legislation advanced by the House Veterans Affairs Committee today contains a provision that would finally correct this injustice, and we would like to thank all Members of the Committee for their support, especially Representative Scott Peters. As the original author of that provision, he has fought for wounded veterans every step of the way throughout this process, and we truly appreciate his leadership on this issue."
Rep. Peters continued by addressing how the Forever GI Bill will help San Diego veterans, “The Forever GI Bill is the first update to veterans education benefits in nearly a decade, and honors the promise we make to our veterans to help them get a quality education that will set them up for success. It brings veterans education benefits into the 21st century – giving San Diego veterans greater flexibility to use their benefits for the educational opportunities they need, when they need them. This bipartisan work will strengthen education benefits for this generation of veterans and generations to come, and I will continue working to see this signed into law.”
Click HERE or above to hear Rep. Peters speak in support of the inclusion of his Purple Heart bill as part of the bipartisan Forever G.I. Bill.
The Forever G.I. Bill is supported by Democrats and Republicans on the Veterans Affairs Committee, Congressional leadership, and nearly 40 veterans service organizations. It is expected to receive a prompt vote in the House next week.