Hon. Jim Matheson
Madame Chairwoman. Thank you for allowing me to submit a statement for the record regarding my bill, the Resuming Education after Defense Service Act of 2007 (HR. 1211). I appreciate the subcommittee’s willingness to hold hearings on pending Montgomery GI Bill legislation.
I have long been an ardent supporter for allowing more flexibility when it comes to providing educational assistance to our nation’s troops. I introduced this bill in response to concerns from soldiers returning from Iraq who learned that despite their lengthy deployment, they were ineligible for the financial assistance.
Our military men and women have made tremendous sacrifices during the war against terror. They've earned our gratitude and our support - particularly when they're trying to resume a normal life following deployment. That's what this legislation helps provide.
My bill extends Title 38 Montgomery GI Bill benefits to Reservists and Guardsmen serving 24+ cumulative months on active duty and is supported by the Enlisted Association of the National Guard (EANGUS) and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).
Many National Guardsmen and Reservists have already served 24 months on Active Duty in Iraq and Afghanistan over multiple deployments and a technicality in the law requires service to be continuous, which is simply not possible under current operational cycles. This legislation allows soldiers serving two years on Active Duty over a 5-year period to qualify for the benefit and is retroactive to September 11, 2001.
We continue to rely more and more on the extended service of Reservists. We should keep our promises to them and we should compensate them for that contribution. Madame Chairwoman, thank you for your time.