A coalition of Democratic lawmakers and veterans organizations is vowing to block any legislation that includes proposed cuts to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, even if that means shelving a host of other proposals they authored.
At issue is a measure passed without objection in the House earlier this year which would cut in half the housing stipend for dependents of veterans attending school on GI Bill benefits. The move would save the government about $773 million over the next 10 years and help pay for a host of other veterans initiatives.
“This goes back on a promise that all of us here are unwilling to break,” said Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn. “In the entire federal budget, there is nowhere else to fund [veterans] programs? That cannot stand.”
For students in high-cost cities such as San Diego or New York, that cut would total $1,000 to $1,800 a month. It would not affect students already using the transferred benefit but could affect families planning on the extra money in the future.
But officials from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America said the move goes back on a promise made to those families that the full benefit would be available when they need it, and for the first time pulls money out of the GI Bill to fund outside programs.
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