What Others Are Saying

The U.S. Senate and Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson should be saluted for making much-needed updates to the post 9/11 G.I. Bill, which is headed to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

Mr. Isakson, who chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. The measure is named in honor of an Army Air Service veteran and former national commander of the American Legion, who drafted the original G.I. Bill in 1944, a transformative piece of legislation that improved the transition for millions of World War II veterans back to civilian life.

Taking care of our veterans is more than just the right thing to do to show this nation’s appreciation for the sacrifices these men and women have made. It’s also a smart investment that returns economic dividends for the nation’s economy.

It also invests in the proven success of our veterans.

When our veterans return home, they should have every opportunity available to them to pursue their desired profession and career,” Isakson said. He’s right the faster they can make the transition from military to civilian life, the faster they will contribute to the nation’s economic prosperity. Isakson introduced the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 with U.S. Senator Jon Tester, D-Mont., ranking member of the Senate VA committee, on Thursday, July 20, and it was passed by the committee on Wednesday, July 26.

“This bipartisan bill will help our nation’s service members transition back to civilian life by opening doors for their future success,” said Tester. “It also does right by Guardsmen and Reservists by getting them the education, housing and health care that they have earned. I look forward to working with President Trump to quickly sign our bill into law.”

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 makes much-needed updates for reservists, Purple Heart recipients, veterans who face school closures while enrolled and surviving family members. The legislation also provides increased resources and authority for educational assistance to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs, computer programming and career technical training.

Most significantly, this bill recognizes our country’s need for an agile and adaptable workforce and recognizes that American workers need to be lifelong learners. For that purpose, this bill eliminates the arbitrary 15-year period within which a veteran is required to use their G.I. Bill and instead allows them to use their benefits at any time in their professional career.

Additionally, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017:

• Provides G.I. Bill eligibility for reservists mobilized under selected reserve orders for preplanned missions in support of the combatant commands or in response to a major disaster or emergency;

• Provides G.I. Bill eligibility for reservists undergoing medical care;

• Provides full G.I. Bill benefits for Purple Heart recipients regardless of length of service;

• Extends Yellow Ribbon Program benefits to Fry scholarship recipients; and

• Increases G.I. Bill payments by $2,300 per year for veterans with less than 12 months of active service.

The reforms could have a major impact in Georgia, which is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the armed services as well as more than 750,000 veterans. Credit Mr. Isakson for being the point man on this important legislation.

###