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Opening Statement of Hon. Marlin A. Stutzman, Chairman, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity

Good afternoon.  Today, we will be taking testimony on H.R. 1383 the Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011, sponsored by Chairman Miller and myself, H.R. 802 sponsored by Ranking Member Filner, H.R. 1671 sponsored by Ranking Member Braley, and H.R. 1657, a bill to improve VA’s enforcement of service disabled veteran-owned small business contracting, which I introduced.  Our intent is to hold a subcommittee markup this Thursday followed by a full committee markup on May 12.

H.R. 1383, the Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011, is a bill that would grandfather veterans attending private schools who were adversely affected by the changes to the GI Bill that passed at the end of last congress. I am glad that we are able to make this fix to help veterans in the seven states that would see their tuition and fees payments reduced all without increasing the deficit due to the inclusion of an offset.  I see by their testimony that VA has some objections to the bill and I hope we can work through those concerns.

H.R. 1657, is a bill I introduced that is designed to debar companies who have fraudulently claimed to be a service disabled veteran owned small businesses from doing business with VA.  For too long legitimate SDVOB’s have lost contracts to these fraudulent companies, and I hope that the prospect of debarment for five years will be the deterrent we need to stop this despicable practice.

I would ask all of today’s witnesses to summarize your written statement within five minutes and without objection, each written testimony will be made part of the hearing record.

Before we begin with testimony, I now ask unanimous consent to have statements from the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Gold Star Wives, and the Paralyzed Veterans of America entered into the record.  Hearing none, so ordered.

I now yield to the distinguished Ranking Member from the great state of Iowa for any remarks he may have.