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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

Courtney Leads Bipartisan Effort Opposing New Restrictions on Post-9/11 GI Bill Education Benefits

July 27, 2018
Press Release

(Washington, DC) - Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) sent a letter signed by 83 of his colleagues in the House of Representatives from both sides of the political aisle to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis strongly opposing a July 12 policy change from the Department of Defense (DOD) that would prevent service members with greater than 16 years of service from transferring their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to eligible family members. The letter was also signed by Representatives John B. Larson (CT-01), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Jim Himes (CT-04), and Elizabeth Esty (CT-05). The Post-9/11 GI Bill was passed in 2008 to build on the 64-year legacy of America’s commitment to its veterans that the government will provide educational opportunities to them in recognition of their sacrifice in a time of war.

“This order from the Trump administration undermines the spirit of the Post-9/11 GI Bill which is intended to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans,” said Courtney. “As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I helped to pass the Post-9/11 GI Bill during my first term in Congress to thank service members who accepted the call to duty in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. There may be any number of reasons why a service member or veteran chooses not to use their education benefit for themselves, and it should be their right to pass that hard-earned over to a close family member such a child or a spouse. I will continue to work with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle uphold the hard-earned benefits of our nation’s veterans by ensuring that they can share this benefit with their families.”

The letter, signed by 83 bipartisan members of Congress, said, “On behalf of a grateful nation, it is our collective duty and responsibility to uphold the hard-earned benefits of our nation’s active-duty service members and veterans, and to remain faithful stewards of the GI Bill’s educational assistance program.

“Revoking transferability benefits breaks this commitment with our most dedicated and seasoned service members. As the Global War on Terror continues, and revisionist competitors seek to challenge the United States in new domains, it remains critically important to attract and retain the best-qualified individuals for military service. Eliminating the ability to transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to family members after honorably completing 16 years of service sends a exactly the wrong message to those who have chosen the military as their long-term career, and sets a dangerous precedent for the removal of other critical benefits as members approach military retirement.”

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is currently organizing a letter drive to members of Congress expressing their opposition to the new restrictions, calling them “outrageous” and that the new changes “hurt our readiness, hurt our recruitment, hurt morale, and are bad for military families.”

The full letter is below and available online

 

July 27, 2018

The Honorable Jim Mattis

Secretary of Defense

1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear Secretary Mattis:

As Members of the House of Representatives committed to ensuring that our government honors its promises to our military personnel and to our veterans, we write to you in strong opposition to the July 12 revision of Department of Defense Instruction 1341.13, which would prevent service members with greater than 16 years of credible service from transferring their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to eligible family members.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill, passed a decade ago, built on a 64-year legacy of American commitment to our veterans that their government will provide to them an education and greater opportunity in recognition of their sacrifice in a time of war. These educational opportunities have changed the social and economic fabric of the United States. On behalf of a grateful nation, it is our collective duty and responsibility to uphold the hard-earned benefits of our nation’s active-duty service members and veterans, and to remain faithful stewards of the GI Bill’s educational assistance program.

Revoking transferability benefits breaks this commitment with our most dedicated and seasoned service members. As the Global War on Terror continues, and revisionist competitors seek to challenge the United States in new domains, it remains critically important to attract and retain the best-qualified individuals for military service. Eliminating the ability to transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to family members after honorably completing 16 years of service sends a exactly the wrong message to those who have chosen the military as their long-term career, and sets a dangerous precedent for the removal of other critical benefits as members approach military retirement. Educational benefits should be maintained after proving oneself through years of devoted and continuing military service – not removed after the 16-year mark.

Once a service member meets the requirements for transferring Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to an eligible family member, we must uphold our end of the commitment. This change in policy is unacceptable, and we call upon you to swiftly reverse this decision.

Sincerely,

REP. JOE COURTNEY

REP. PETE AGUILAR

REP. KAREN BASS

REP. DONALD S. BEYER JR.

REP. MIKE BISHOP

REP. MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO

REP. SUSAN W. BROOKS

REP. ANTHONY G. BROWN

REP. JULIA BROWNLEY

REP. SALUD O. CARBAJAL

REP. ANDRÉ CARSON

REP. MATT CARTWRIGHT

REP. DAVID N. CICILLINE

REP. J. LUIS CORREA

REP. HENRY CUELLAR

REP. SUSAN A. DAVIS

REP. PETER A. DEFAZIO

REP. ROSA L. DELAURO

REP. MARK DESAULNIER

REP. ADRIANO ESPAILLAT

REP. ELIZABETH H. ESTY

REP. BILL FOSTER

REP. TULSI GABBARD

REP. RUBEN GALLEGO

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI

REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER

REP. AL GREEN

REP. COLLEEN HANABUSA

REP. ALCEE L. HASTINGS

REP. BRIAN HIGGINS

REP. JIM HIMES

REP. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL

REP. HAKEEM S. JEFFRIES

REP. HENRY C. "HANK" JOHNSON JR.

REP. WALTER B. JONES

REP. WILLIAM R. KEATING

REP. RUBEN J. KIHUEN

REP. DANIEL T. KILDEE

REP. DEREK KILMER

REP. ANN MCLANE KUSTER

REP. CONOR LAMB

REP. DOUG LAMBORN

REP. RICK LARSEN

REP. JOHN B. LARSON

REP. DANIEL W. LIPINSKI

REP. DAVID LOEBSACK

REP. ZOE LOFGREN

REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY

REP. BETTY MCCOLLUM

REP. A. DONALD MCEACHIN

REP. JAMES P. MCGOVERN

REP. GREGORY W. MEEKS

REP. SETH MOULTON

REP. DONALD NORCROSS

REP. TOM O'HALLERAN

REP. FRANK PALLONE JR.

REP. JIMMY PANETTA

REP. DONALD M. PAYNE, JR.

REP. ED PERLMUTTER

REP. KATHLEEN M. RICE

REP. JACKY ROSEN

REP. KEITH J. ROTHFUS

REP. C. A. DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER

REP. BOBBY L. RUSH

REP. TIM RYAN

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY

REP. DAVID SCOTT

REP. ROBERT C. "BOBBY" SCOTT

REP. CAROL SHEA-PORTER

REP. ALBIO SIRES

REP. JACKIE SPEIER

REP. THOMAS R. SUOZZI

REP. MARK TAKANO

REP. DINA TITUS

REP. PAUL TONKO

REP. NIKI TSONGAS

REP. NYDIA M. VELÁZQUEZ

REP. TIMOTHY J. WALZ

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ

REP. PETER WELCH

REP. JOHN A. YARMUTH

 

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