As Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) rallies in D.C. to stop Congress from cutting the Post-9/22 GI Bill, other veterans groups voicing their support for the controversial bill.
If passed, the bill would cut the housing allowance for military children attending college and redistribute the money towards other programs such as prenatal care for female veterans and K-9 training. Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) don’t believe that is entirely a bad thing.
“While the VFW would never actively support any standalone provision that reduces benefits for veterans or service members, we felt that H.R. 3016, taken in its entirety, contained enough good provisions to support its passage,” VFW national spokesman Joe Davis told Military.com.
Davis’ support was echoed by the American Legion, the organization that helped spearhead the very first iteration of the GI Bill after World War II and pass the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008. It might seem surprising that the Legion would support cutting a program it has supported throughout its 91-year history, but like everything in politics, the devil is in the details.
A Legion spokesman told Military.com that the new bill would add a provision the current law lacks.
Lou Celli, legislative director for the Legion, said he understands the position of the IAVA and other groups but that his organization is more focused on the details of the legislation. One provision will, for the first time, he said, count the time a reservist spends recovering in hospital from wounds and injuries toward GI Bill eligibility.
Paul Rieckhoff, CEO and founder of IAVA, opposes the bill because it is “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Other veterans groups such as Vietnam Veterans of America agree that ‘cannibalizing’ existing programs isn’t the way to go.
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