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Do You Have a Post 9/11 GI Bill Fix Update?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Do you have an update yet to the Post 9/11 GI Bill Fix legislation Bill?

A: Yes I do. The latest I’m hearing is support is waning for the bill due to the costs associated with it. If you remember, Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), chairman of the veterans’ affairs committee, introduced the Senate version (S.3447) and the bill has 26 co-sponsors as of date.

Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho) introduced an identical bill in the House (H.R.5933) and it has 121 co-sponsors including Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), chairman of the House veterans committee.

The issue is while these bills are both popular politically (as you can well imagine), the big hurdle is paying the additional costs generated by the proposed changes to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Because this is an entitlement program, lawmakers (at least in theory) can only pay for GI Bill enhancement costs by either reducing other mandatory spending programs or raising taxes – of which both are not popular.

Typically lawmakers have ignored the “pay-as-you-go” rule many times in the past, including approving the Post 9/11 GI Bill to begin with, however, now with worries over the budget deficit rising and the president’s debt commission reporting its findings and recommendations in December, Congress is very hesitant to pass this without the funding to support it.

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