Opinion: 'Forever GI Bill' is the bipartisan bill we owe to our veterans
EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Bipartisanship is not dead.
While Congress is divided on a multitude of issues, there is one that is getting strong bipartisan support: Both parties agree that our veterans deserve better care and benefits.
For the first time in a nearly decade, we are seeing a large expansion of benefits for our veterans coming to a vote in the House, with a revised GI Bill, dubbed the "Forever GI Bill."
A major change is that it will remove the 15-year time limit for veterans to use their education benefits after leaving military service.
This is a logical policy, as it will allow those who cannot go to school immediately following their exit from service to go back and get more education at any point later in life.
Another important aspect of this legislation is that all Purple Heart recipients will be eligible for GI Bill benefits. The Purple Heart is a high honor, awarded to those who have been injured in the line of duty.
Currently, only Purple Heart recipients who have served for at least three years are eligible for GI benefits. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 20 percent of Purple Heart recipients aren’t getting the full benefits because of this provision.
The Forever GI Bill is receiving widespread backing from veterans’ advocacy groups. Department of Veterans’ Affairs Secretary David Shulkin expressed his support for the bill on Twitter.
Leaders of the Senate’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee have said that they will introduce their own, similar version of the bill.
The Forever GI bill should get passed and signed as soon as possible so our veterans can begin receiving the added and expanded benefits.
This is the exact kind of law we expect from our elected officials. One can hope that they can use this issue as a starting point to work across the aisle on other vital fronts, from the economy to national security. The American people do not vote for gridlock, our system of government works best when politicians find ways to work together instead of hiding in their respective corners. And that’s the bottom line.