In the News: Ripon Advance: House passes expansion of GI Bill with support from Brooks, Walters, Walorski

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

House passes expansion of GI Bill with support from Brooks, Walters, Walorski

The House unanimously approved a legislative package that aims to expand GI Bill education benefits for veterans and their beneficiaries on Monday with support from U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN).

Under the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2017, H.R. 3218, there would be no statute of limitations on education benefits. In addition, veterans could use those benefits for non-traditional technology courses, and national guardsmen and reservists would have access to GI Bill benefits, as well.

… The Forever GI Bill also includes a provision led by Walorski directing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to review previously denied claims for benefits by World War II veterans who were subjected to mustard gas and lewisite testing.

The U.S. military secretly conducted chemical weapons testing on American troops during World War II, exposing 60,000 servicemembers to mustard agents and swearing them to secrecy until that oath was lifted in the 1990s. Since then, lawmakers said the VA failed to adequately notify affected veterans of their eligibility for benefits or to provide proper treatment for those exposed to the toxic agents. Over the last 10 years, the VA has denied roughly 90 percent of benefits claims, Walorski said.

“We owe our freedom to the American heroes who served in World War II, and it is simply unacceptable that veterans exposed to mustard gas are being denied the benefits they deserve,” Walorski said. “Today, we took an important step toward righting this wrong and taking care of these brave veterans who risked everything for our country.”

Read the full story here.

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