Hon. Roscoe G. Bartlett
Madame Chairwoman, I appreciate the opportunity to submit a statement for the record at this hearing by the Economic Opportunity Subcommittee of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs concerning education benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserves.
I would like to introduce you to the bill that I have introduced, H.R. 81, the Bartlett Montgomery GI Bill Act. With military retention and morale at risk, we need to support our troops and servicemembers with additional incentives to stay in the military. This bill would encourage Active Duty and Reserve servicemembers to re-enlist, support military families and provide more realistic rates of educational costs for higher learning by permitting servicemembers to transfer unused GI education benefits to their spouses or children. This is a reintroduction of H.R. 3625 from the 109th Congress.
In general, this bill would amend the Montgomery GI Bill educational assistance program to allow an individual who has completed six years of service in the Armed Forces and enters into an agreement to serve at least four more years to transfer their educational assistance entitlement to their spouse, child, or a combination therein.
More specifically the bill would:
Direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide a percentage annual increase in the rates of such educational assistance based on the average monthly costs of higher education.
Authorize reimbursement of reductions in basic pay for educational assistance coverage in the case of extended active-duty service.
Provide similar eligibility for the transfer of educational assistance for members of the Selected Reserve who have completed at least six years of service and enter into an agreement to remain a member of such Reserve for at least four more years.
Provide educational assistance eligibility credit for cumulative active-duty service in the Selected Reserve.
Increase the rates of educational assistance under the Reserve Montgomery GI Bill.
Apply an annual adjustment to the rates of survivors' and dependents' educational assistance.
Thank you again Madame Chairwoman for the opportunity to bring H.R. 81 to the attention of my colleagues serving on the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.