WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the USO Congressional Caucus, released the following statement announcing a slate of endorsements of her bipartisan GI Bill Planning Act of 2019 (S. 2830):

“Over 225,000 veterans live in Nevada who have made great sacrifices for the Silver State and our nation,” said Senator Rosen. “I am proud to see such strong support for my bipartisan bill that would provide new recruits with additional time to pick their preferred GI Bill benefits plan, instead of having to do so upon arrival at Basic Training, which is a deliberately chaotic environment with little opportunity for recruits to make an informed decision about their future. I will continue working on forward-thinking legislation that improves the lives of our heroes and their families.” 

“Currently tens thousands of new military recruits enroll every year in the Montgomery GI Bill program, and the overwhelming amount of service members will never use this benefit. The first few days of recruit training is a chaotic period, and it is not the time to discuss the specific differences between the Post 9/11, and the Montgomery GI Bill,” said Pat Murray, VFW’s Deputy Director. “Many VFW members have stated if they knew more about the Montgomery GI Bill they may not have opted to pay $1,200 for a program they would never use. This proposal would allow service members additional time to understand the nuances between the two chapters of the GI Bill, if both are still needed, and how to best utilize their education benefits.”

"We are grateful to Senators Rosen and Barrasso for their bi-partisan legislation to end the "tax on troops" in the Montgomery GI Bill. This legislation will result in more equitable and streamlined federal education benefits for service members and veterans in higher education,” said Colonel Bob Norton, USA-ret. Senior Advisor, Veterans Education Success. “Since 2015, VES has worked with Congress to enact a key recommendation of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission to sunset the MGIB due to the troops' overwhelming preference for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. We thank the Senators for working with us to restore hard-earned pay for our new recruits.”

“The Montgomery GI Bill is a true tax on troops for the vast majority of students using the GI Bill,” said Will Hubbard Chief of Staff, Student Veterans of America. “Nearly all student veterans opt to use the more generous Post-9/11 GI Bill, yet they still pay towards the Montgomery GI Bill in boot camp—what’s worse is that hardly anyone ever receives a refund of these payments. This bill is an important step forward in reducing the number of service members paying hundreds of millions of dollars unnecessarily while allowing those still using the benefit to finish their education.”

BACKGROUND: The bipartisan GI Bill Planning Act of 2019 is endorsed by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Student Veterans of America, and Veterans Education Success. 

Senator Rosen recently introduced the bipartisan GI Bill Planning Act of 2019 (S. 2830) with Senator John Barrasso (R-WY). The bill would provide military recruits up to 270 days to pick their preferred GI Bill education benefits plan, instead of having to do so upon arrival at Basic Training. 

While 97 percent of recruits choose the newer, more effective Post-9/11 GI Bill, about 70 percent still make the decision to remain eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill and pay a mandatory $1,200 for this benefit, which they will likely never use. This is because they were not afforded the opportunity to get the proper explanation of benefits our servicemembers deserve while in the stressful environment of Basic Training. Delaying this decision until after the chaotic indoctrination into the U.S. military would give recruits the ability to make an informed choice in planning for their future. 

Last week, this bipartisan legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 408 – 0.

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