Rep. Takano Statement on “Forever GI Bill” Signing

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), vice ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, released the following statement after the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, commonly known as the “Forever GI Bill,” was signed into law.

“Every veteran who serves this nation deserves an opportunity to live a rewarding, purposeful, and prosperous civilian life. The Forever GI Bill secures that opportunity for generations of future veterans and expands our support for those who sacrifice so much for our country. This is a major victory for America’s veterans and an example of what Congress can achieve when we work together to advance the principles we all share.

“I am particularly proud that this law includes a proposal I championed with Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.), which provides relief to the thousands of veterans left stranded by the sudden closure of ITT Technical Institute and Corinthian Colleges. This law restores tuition and housing benefits to these veterans, and it restores their ability to get the education they need to achieve the future they deserve.

“Under the leadership of Chairman Roe and Ranking Member Walz, and with contributions from members of both parties, we’ve created a law that reflects our profound respect and gratitude for America’s veterans. As we enter the 16th year of America’s longest war, we must continue to recognize and repay the incredible debt we owe to those we serve.”

The legislative package includes four pieces of legislation championed by Rep. Takano:

  • The Veterans Education Relief and Restoration Act (introduced by Rep. Takano) restores GI Bill benefits lost by student veterans when their school abruptly closes dud to financial trouble, federal investigations and lawsuits, or other factors. It applies retroactively to former students of Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute, and includes housing benefits as well as tuition support.
  • The GI Bill Fairness Act (introduced by Rep. Takano) ends the unequal treatment of Guardsmen and Reservists by ensuring they can accrue GI Bill benefits when ordered to active duty for their recovery, treatment, and rehabilitation.
  • The Work-Study for Student Veterans Act (introduced by Rep. Takano) makes permanent the VA’s Student Work-Study Allowance Program, which allows qualifying student veterans to get paid for work that assists fellow veterans, whether it’s on campus, at VA facilities, or at other veteran-centered organizations.
  • The Veterans Education Equity Act (co-led by Rep. Takano) makes local community colleges and universities more competitive by correcting the formula for calculating student veterans’ housing allowance

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Josh Weisz, 202-225-2305