Bush Signs New GI Bill into Law
WASHINGTON – President Bush today signed legislation ushering in a new era in GI Bill benefits. The legislation, which the Senate last week passed overwhelmingly, is part of a $162 billion war spending bill.
“We are very excited that after 18 months of working on the GI Bill that it’s been passed into law,” said Patrick Campbell, legislative director for IAVA. “Now veterans everywhere will see their opportunities greatly expanded.”
The administration has opposed the new GI Bill on the grounds it would be too expensive, while the Pentagon has been concerned the more generous benefits – including a free four-year college degree program – would inspire more Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines to leave after their initial enlistment.
But in signing the bill today, Bush praised the bill, including a provision favored by the Pentagon that permits veterans to transfer unused benefits to spouses and children.
“We also owe a debt of gratitude to our nation’s military families. They endure sleepless nights, and the daily struggle of caring for children while a loved one is serving far from home,” he said. “So I’m pleased that the bill I sign today includes an expansion of the GI Bill. This legislation will make it easier for our troops to transfer unused education benefits to their spouses and children.”