Veterans organizations and politicians alike are rallying this week to stop Congress from cutting the Post-9/11 GI Bill. After policymakers hosted a small #DefendtheGIBill rally outside the Capitol, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton joined their fight.
“Two down and three to go,” Paul Rieckhoff, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told Military.com.
Sanders made his position known over the weekend through Twitter. “Taking care of our veterans is a cost of war, and we must firmly reject the latest efforts to cut benefits for veterans. #DefendTheGIBill,” he wrote.
Taking care of our veterans is a cost of war, and we must firmly reject the latest efforts to cut benefits for veterans. #DefendTheGIBill
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 16, 2016
Clinton released a statement the same day.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill should be a lasting part of this nation’s social contract with those who serve. It is unconscionable that Congressional Republicans have been driving an effort to chip away at this benefit for the men and women who have dedicated their lives to serve us, and the families that support them. Preserving the Post-9/11 GI Bill is not only the right thing to do, it also keeps us safer by ensuring we have this important family benefit to recruit and retain a high-quality, professional, all-volunteer force.
The proposed cuts will reduce the housing allowance for military children attending college by half. For some students, this could mean losing $2,000 a month.
Last week, Rieckhoff criticized President Obama for remaining silent as a bill threatening the Post-9/11 GI Bill progressed through Congress. He said that the issue is a “no brainer.”
“There’s no reason the President wouldn’t support [stopping the legislation], especially if every Democrat running for President is supporting it … If the President has reservations, put them on the table,” Rieckhoff said.
Republican candidates have yet to support or oppose the bill. Rieckhoff hopes the NY primary will give those candidates a chance to throw their support behind the Post-9/11 GI Bill.