Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Representing the 12th District of California

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Pelosi, House Democrats Announce GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century

Apr 12, 2005
Press Release

Pelosi, House Democrats Announce GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century

April 12, 2005

Washington, D.C. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today unveiled the new GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century at a forum with veterans' service and military organizations. Pelosi was joined by Retired Army General Wesley Clark and Congressmen Ike Skelton (D-MO) and Lane Evans (D-IL). Below are her remarks:

"We are honored to have so many veterans and military organizations with us today. Many of them have been involved in writing this new GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century, including the Military Officers Association of America, the Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, National Association of Black Veterans and Naval Reserve Association.

"We are particularly honored to have members of the American Legion, which wrote the original GI Bill, here today. We are proud of and grateful for your role in writing the new GI bill.

"To those organizations that are a part of the Independent Budget project, thank you as always for your valuable assistance. To all of the veterans here, thank you for your service to our country in uniform, and your continued service today.

"Before the end of World War II, Congress passed the GI Bill of Rights. And the 'greatest generation,' which had defeated tyranny abroad, then built a new America here at home. The prosperity and quality of life that we enjoy today are due to their optimism, hard work, and sacrifice and to that visionary legislation. America's investment in our veterans has been repaid many times over.

"Today, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are creating a new generation of veterans, and it is time for a new GI Bill of Rights. Every American is indebted to our troops for their bravery, their patriotism, and the sacrifice they are willing to make for our country. Just as our soldiers pledge to leave no one behind on the battlefield, so we must leave no veteran behind once they come home.

"House Democrats are proud today to announce the new GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century to guarantee access to education, health care and the opportunity for good jobs. Recognizing that politics and partisanship should never be a factor in how we support our veterans, many of the provisions of this package are bipartisan.

"The new GI Bill ensures that health care is accessible and affordable for veterans by increasing funding for VA health care, blocking fee increases, and covering mental health services. It provides the benefits our veterans have earned and deserve, including a full repeal of the Disabled Veterans Tax.

"It strengthens our support for our men and women in uniform by providing a $1,000 bonus for those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and ensuring an adequate number of troops and adequate equipment for those troops. It improves benefits for our National Guard and Reservists by expanding military health care for them and by protecting the income of activated National Guard and Reservists and making sure they are paid on time.

"Finally, the new GI Bill honors our debt to our servicemen and women by modernizing and enhancing the GI Bill and Job Training Programs and improving education benefits for Guard/Reserve. Specifically, it would provide the full cost of tuition and fees, and a living allowance for 36 months of schooling for those who enlist for four years of active duty military service.

"President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who passed away 60 years ago today, said that the passage of the GI Bill gave 'emphatic notice to the men and women of our Armed Forces that the American people do not intend to let them down.'

"The American people will never let down our veterans. The GI Bill for the 21st Century honors our commitment to them, and it should have the support of every Member of Congress."

GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century

Makes Health Care Accessible and Affordable for Our Veterans
  • Improves veterans' health care.
  • Improves mental health for returning soldiers.
  • Blocks increases in prescription drug co-payments and enrollment fees for veterans.
Provides the Benefits Our Veterans Have Earned and Deserve
  • Ends the Disabled Veterans' Tax.
  • Reduces waiting times on disability claims and expands outreach to veterans.
Honors the Families of Those Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice for our Country
  • Ends the Military Families Tax.
  • Increases survivor benefits for families with minor children.
Strengthens Our Support for Our Men and Women in Uniform
  • Provides $1,000 Bonus for those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Ensures an adequate number of troops and adequate equipment for our troops.
  • Improves military pay for senior enlisted personnel and warrant officers.
Honors Our Debt to Our Servicemen and Women
  • Modernizes and enhances the GI Bill Education and Job Training Programs.
  • Provides additional funds to assist homeless veterans with employment.
  • Protects bonuses and special pay for the permanently injured, and continues combat pay or additional compensation for those recovering from combat injuries.
Improves Health and Education Benefits for Our National Guard/Reservists
  • Expands military health care (TRICARE) for National Guard/Reservists.
  • Protects the income of activated National Guard/Reservists.
  • Ensures recruitment incentives and bonuses for National Guard/Reservists and improve educational benefits.

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