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Bush Administration Fights Dem Plan to Boost School Aid for Vets

by Pamela Leavey

Time and time again we see the evidence that the Bush Administration does not support the troops. Here’s the latest:

The Bush administration opposes a Democratic effort to restore full educational benefits for returning veterans, according to an official’s comments last week.

Senate Democrats, led by Virginia’s Jim Webb, want the government to pay every penny of veterans’ educational costs, from tuition at a public university to books, housing and a monthly stipend.

Such a benefit was a major feature of the historic 1944 G.I. Bill, which put more than eight million U.S. soldiers through college and is now credited by historians as fueling the expansion of America’s middle class in the post-war era.

But in recent years the benefit has dwindled; under the current law, passed in 1985, veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan can expect Uncle Sam to cover only 75 percent of their tuition costs. That’s not enough, say Democrats and veterans’ advocates.

Webb’s bill currently “has 19 Democratic co-sponsors, including Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and John Kerry, D-Mass., a fellow veteran.”

Patrick Campbell of the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) endorsed Webb’s plan. Better educational benefits are essential for attracting talented, ambitious recruits, he asserted.

“If the Department of Defense said, ‘If you serve your country, we’ll pay for school no questions asked,’ …[that] would increase the quality of our recruits,” said Campbell, “instead of what we’re doing now, which is lowering our standards.”

If the Bush Administration and the GOP really wants to show support for the troops they would jump on this legislation and make it happen.

RELATED POST: Kerry Responds to a Student’s Plea

8 Responses to “Bush Administration Fights Dem Plan to Boost School Aid for Vets”

  1. Generally speaking, the kids of Republicans go to college, not to the military. I don’t think that it’s any more complicated than that.

  2. What bothers me about this is the war has been going on since 01 and 03 (Afghan and Iraq) and people are now complaining about Education benefits. It sounds like a political season ploy to me. I used the GI benefits to get my education in the early 90s and I had no problems. I had to work a part time job waiting tables to have extra spending cash, but overall I’d say I was pleased with my benefits. I’ll follow this closely but there’s more to this than meets the eye.

  3. I’m a disabled Veteran of the US Army (Operation Desert Storm).

    After I got out of the Army on a medical discharge (Honorable), I decided to go back and finish the college degree that I left after my sophomore year to join the Army.

    How did the U.S. Army help this Veteran? As a disabled veteran with a service connected disability of 30%, I was eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation (Chapter 31). The vocational rehabilitation that I qualified for was college.

    And what does Chapter 31 cover? 100% of all education costs. This includes tuition, fees, parking, books, supplies.

    On top of that, I also got paid a generous stipend every month that was enough to pay my rent.

    After I graduated, I had no student loans to pay. But I also had over $50K in GI Bill benefits that I could have used to go to Graduate school.

    So I did. And that was paid for by the U.S. Army, too.

    Now, if I ever go decide that I’d like to go back and get my PhD, I have the Hazlewood Act that is available to all veterans who listed Texas as their state of record.

    Thus, I will be able to obtain a Bachelors, Masters, and a PhD without a single penny coming out of my pocket.

    My point?

    Perhaps the GOP’s reluctance to “boost” Veterans benefits for education is because we already get ridiculously great educational benefits as it is…more often than not, much more than we need.

  4. Robbie

    First and foremost thank you for your service. Second, it’s my understanding that vets who are not disabled do not get full education benefits as you have. I think that is the point, they want all vets to have the same opportunity that you have.

  5. Robbie:

    While you were getting that Master’s degree, you might have taken some reading classes.

    The operant word in the article above was “restore.”

    Which kind of negates the entirety of your posting.

  6. Robbie,

    I too am a disabled Veteran. A medical under honorable conditions also. I have Post Traumatic added before my official diagnosis. My injury was before Desert Storm, and they were giving out 6 month early outs as Reagan was leaving. Anyone, and everyone was getting sent home. I fought to stay in, and they told me it was futile to try. They finally told me I had to go home, and I still fought it. You want to know what they told me? Good luck, and try the GI bill.

    At that time, I started a fight that was worse than the one I waged to stay in the Marine Corps. I tried to use that GI Bill, and got nothing but a run around. There was so much red tape, I gave up for the first time since I had joined the Corps!

    You don’t even want to know how upset I was when I first went to the VA, and had a doctor that could only use basic english(broken at that), determine my disability while sitting on the other side of a desk talking about computers being the future, and never even took a look at my injury. That no english speaking doctor determined me to be 10%. Without as much as a poke of his finger, he determined my fate. A botched up surgery, on a serviced related injury in the field, ended my career.

    My CO wrote on my last day in the unit, that the Marine Corps lost a very valuable asset that day. I’m still a Marine, and as others before me, I will always be one. But I hold ill feelings on the way Vets are treated. If you get injured, you fall into a different system.

  7. Hart Williams,

    Reread Robbie’s post. Robbie’s point was there is no need for restoration, in fact, he says, the system works as it is intended too.

    Maybe you should go back and complete 6th grade.

  8. Or just learn to ignore trolls.