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Courtney Leads Bipartisan Effort Opposing Impending Restrictions on Post-9/11 G.I. Bill

June 25, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) today released a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper urging him to delay an impending policy change by the Department of Defense (DOD) that would prevent servicemembers with greater than 16 years of service from transferring their Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits to eligible family members. The policy change is set to take place on July 12 and the letter, signed by a bipartisan group of 29 Members of the House Armed Services Committee, asks for the policy to be delayed while Congress completes its work on the 2020 defense authorization bill. The defense authorization bill as passed by the House Armed Services Committee includes an amendment unanimously adopted by the panel to block these changes. 

"We appreciate that the Congress is unlikely to complete its work on the FY20 NDAA before the implementation of changes to DOD Instruction 1341.13 take effect on July 12, 2019. We would also note DOD’s deference in FY16 to legislation on this issue which had not passed both houses of Congress, nor into law,” the letter states. “To give Congress time to continue debate on this issue and to avoid the whiplash of a potential reversal following implementation of new restrictions, we request that you delay implementation of changes which will restrict transferability for servicemembers with more than sixteen years of service until Congress has completed its work on the FY20 NDAA.”  

"Ultimately, we hope that you will reconsider implementing this new limitation entirely and look forward to working with you as we consider policies to attract and retain our country’s best and the brightest to serve in the armed forces. We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and a written response in advance of the July 12th implementation date.” 

The House of Representatives is currently in the process of approving the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Most recently, the bill was approved by the full House Armed Services Committee during a legislative markup on June 13. During the markup, Congressman Courtney received unanimous support for his amendment to prevent the Secretary of Defense from restricting the ability of servicemembers with to transfer their Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits to eligible dependents based on a maximum number of years of service. The FY2020 NDAA was ultimately passed out of Committee by a vote of 33-24. The House is expected to take a final vote on this year’s NDAA in the coming weeks. 

The full letter is below, and is available online