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VFW VETERANS’ EDUCATION BILL PASSES SENATE

PENDING THE HOUSE'S FINAL APPROVAL, THE BILL MOVES ON TO THE WHITE HOUSE

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is applauding yesterday’s Senate  passage of H.R. 4057, the Improving Transparency in Education for Veterans Act, a bill designed to improve consumer protections for student-veterans who use their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. The bill must now go back to the House for final approval before heading to the White House for the president’s signature.

“The VFW has worked diligently over the past year to build consensus among other veterans’ groups and education advocates to ensure we provide student-veterans with quality consumer information and consumer protections when they seek to use their earned GI Bill benefits,” said VFW National Commander John Hamilton, a combat wounded Vietnam veteran.

“We’re proud the Senate took this issue seriously by passing the Improving Transparency in Education for Veterans Act, and we thank Senate VA Committee Chairman Patty Murray and Ranking Member Richard Burr for their leadership, as well as their colleagues in the House, Chairman Jeff Miller and Ranking Member Bob Filner, for making sure this could get done before the end of the year.”

H.R. 4057 was amended in the House to include several other VFW-supported provisions to improve veterans’ benefits, such as the HIRE at HOME Act (H.R. 4115), which would ensure states considered military training for professional licenses in certain technical fields, and the open air burn pit registry. The additional bills, however, were stripped from the Senate version because they had been included in other legislation already passed. This procedural issue means that the clean version of H.R. 4057 must be again approved by the House before it can be signed into law. The VFW anticipates that the House will take it up before the end of the week.

H.R. 4057 was inspired by VFW action earlier this year, when VFW authored a letter, signed by a broad coalition of education experts and veterans' advocates and organizations — to include Student Veterans of America — to call for improved consumer information and consumer protections for veterans. To learn more about the bill, click here.

Over the summer, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., who introduced the bill, spoke on the House floor to champion the merits of H.R. 4057, which passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. This fall, VFW advocates stormed Capitol Hill, asking Congress to “Finish Strong For Veterans” by passing the education package. After a slew of meetings and hard-pressed advocacy, the VFW was able to muster overwhelming support on both sides of the aisle to ensure H.R. 4057 could pass in the Senate.

Your VFW now encourages the House to quickly pass the final version of H.R. 4057 and send it on for the president’s signature to help ensure a quality education for our veterans in the coming year. Check back regularly with the VFW’s Capitol Hill blog, www.thevfw.blogspot.com, for details.

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