House Passes Veterans' Bill

From: "Bruce K. Melson" <>
October 17, 2000 (202) 225-3664
Updated Montgomery GI Bill Highlights Final Bill
Confirming 106th Congress as 'Productive' for Veterans
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House confirmed the 106th Congress as a productive
one for veterans Tuesday by passing overwhelmingly S. 1402, the Veterans
Benefits and Health Care Improvement Act of 2000, a comprehensive package of
education, health, and compensation benefits headed by an updated Montgomery
GI Bill (MGIB).
The bill combines legislation recommended earlier in the year by House and
Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees.
"Bringing the Montgomery GI Bill more in line with rising education costs
keeps the promise we made to veterans when they enlisted," said House
Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Stump (R-AZ), who also sits on the
Armed Services Committee. "Increasing the monthly education benefit to $650
could mean $23,400 in assistance to a full-time student pursuing a four-year
degree. That will ease the transition back to civilian life for young men
and women who served their country while their peers were getting head
starts on their careers. At the same time, this measure will help retention
and recruitment."
"This landmark legislation will result in a significant percentage increase
in the veterans education benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill," said
Congressman Lane Evans of Illinois, the Ranking Democrat on the Veterans'
Affairs Committee. "It will also help VA to hire and retain the skilled,
caring health personnel it must have. We have supported pay raises for VA's
wonderful nurses, and helped its dentists, pharmacists, physicians
assistants and social workers. This legislation will help VA put veterans
S. 1402 raises the educational benefits of veterans' survivors and
dependents to $588 per month. It gives active duty servicemembers another
chance to convert their Post-Vietnam Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
benefits to the MGIB if they previously declined to do so or withdrew all
funds from their VEAP accounts. Other provisions allow payment
of education benefits during intervals lasting as long as eight weeks
between academic terms and the use of up to $2,000 of VA education benefits
toward the fee for a civilian licensing or certification examination.
The measure would give annual pay raises to VA nurses and increased special
pay to dentists and other VA medical personnel. Another provision would
allow VA disability benefits for a heart attack or stroke of a reservist if
incurred or aggravated during inactive duty training. S. 1402 as amended
would make women eligible for special monthly compensation for the loss of
one or both breasts. It would also increase the maximum amount of coverage
available through the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance program to
Other provisions of the bill:
Require federal contractors and subcontractors to extend affirmative action
regarding employment and promotions to recently discharged veterans.
Require employers to grant leaves of absence to employees who participate in
honor guards for the funerals of veterans.
Provide benefits to children of women Vietnam veterans who suffer from
specified birth defects.

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Please visit, the House Committee on Veterans'
Affairs web site, named 'One of the Best Web Sites in Congress' by the
Congressional Management Foundation, May 3, 1999.


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