March 31, 2020

Chairman Takano, Ranking Member Roe Applaud Swift Passage of Student Veteran Coronavirus Act of 2020

Press Contact

Jenni Geurink (Takano) I 202-819-4684

Samantha Gonzalez (Roe) I 202-225-3527

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives unanimously passed House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member Dr. Phil Roe’s (R-Tenn.) bipartisan Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 (H.R. 6322). This key legislation— introduced last week with more than 51 cosponsors and wide VSO support— expands on language passed in S. 3503 and signed into law to further minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student veterans as schools and universities take proactive measures to mitigate the spread of the virus.

“We cannot let any student veterans lose their work study payments, have their housing cut off, exhaust their disaster housing stipend continuation  payments, or lose their benefits due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chairman Takano. “I was proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with my friend Ranking Member Dr. Roe last week, and I’m so pleased to see that these key fixes are one step closer to becoming a reality for our student veterans. I urge the Senate to quickly follow suit, so we can safeguard our student veterans’ benefits.” 

“I know firsthand how important the GI Bill is since I relied on it to put food on the table for my family after I got out of the Army,” said Ranking Member Roe. “With so many veterans struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has never been more important than it is now to make sure the GI Bill is there for them, just like it was there for me. The bill that the House passed today builds on the work we have already done to ensure that GI Bill benefits remain protected for the duration of this crisis. By including further protections to preserve work study and vocational rehabilitation and employment programs and allowing students to maintain their GI Bill eligibility next semester if their school was forced to close, we are sending a message to the hundreds of thousands of student veterans and their families that they are not alone in their time of need. I applaud the House for working quickly to pass this bill and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to follow suit and deliver this bill to the President’s desk without delay.”

Background: The Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 builds on recent legislation, passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by the president, to ensure student veterans will not see a reduction in their monthly housing allowance as a result of their schools moving to online instruction due to COVID-19. This legislation has been endorsed widely by the VSO community and cosponsored by 51 Members including Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity Chair Levin. Final text of HR 6322 can be found here.

Since this crisis began, the Committee has continued its oversight of VA’s response to COVID-19 and the Fourth Mission, worked to mitigate the impact on student veterans, and been in constant contact with VA to ensure they can continue to provide high quality care for veterans. For more information about the Committee’s efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis and resources for available for veterans, please visit: https://veterans.house.gov/covid-19.

 

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