Peterson supports new GI bill

Jun 20, 2008 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Education, Veterans

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Congressman Collin Peterson supported a bipartisan supplemental appropriations bill that includes expansion of the GI Bill of Rights, funding for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan , an extension of unemployment benefits, and emergency relief for areas devastated by flooding.

“This new GI bill will expand education benefits for veterans and restore the promise of a full, four-year college education,” Peterson said. “We know how important the GI bill was to World War II veterans and their families. This legislation is long overdue.”

More than 20,000 soldiers from Minnesota have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan . Current benefits pay only about 70 percent of a public college education and 30 percent of a private college education for these veterans when they return home.

The expanded GI Bill will restore full, four-year college scholarships to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to help make them part of an economic recovery like the veterans of World War II. The legislation will also allow veterans to transfer those benefits to family members. 

The Supplemental Appropriations bill also included provisions to provide a 13 week extension of unemployment benefits for those workers who are unable to find a job in today’s struggling economy. The economy has lost nearly 325,000 jobs this year and 1.6 million Americans have been unemployed more than six months, despite looking for work.

The legislation approved by the House also includes $161.8 billion that will support the cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through the summer of 2009.

“We have to financially support our troops in Iraq until we get a new administration that will address the need to get them home responsibly,” Peterson said.

Also included is $2.65 billion for disaster relief in the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes and floods that hit the Midwest .

“Watching the scenes of devastation in Iowa and throughout the Midwest brings back some difficult memories for so many in Northwest Minnesota . We understand too well how important these disaster relief dollars are to communities that will be making their way toward recovery,” Peterson said.