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Bilirakis Applauds Passage of Bill to Expand, Improve GI Bill for Veterans

July 24, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Vice Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, applauded passage today of the Harry. W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act, H.R. 3218, in the House of Representatives. The bill extends and improves the GI Bill providing education assistance to Veterans and their surviving spouses and dependents. It also includes a provision authored by Bilirakis to modernize GI Bill claims processing in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“The GI Bill empowers our nation’s heroes to invest in themselves and their futures. Our legislation passed today expands access to education and workforce training programs that will help Veterans enter a new chapter of their lives upon returning home from their service. I am especially proud that this bill includes my provision to update the VA’s Information Technology systems for more efficient claims processing. Overall, the House took a major step today in improving, expanding, and modernizing the GI Bill for our Veterans,” said Bilirakis.

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act, also called the Forever GI Bill, provides significant increases in GI Bill funding, and allows future eligible recipients to use their GI Bill benefits at any point in their lives.

Bilirakis’ provision authorizes $30 million to help the VA invest in updating its Information Technology systems for processing claims. This would help ensure Veterans are able to receive their benefits in a more timely and efficient manner. It also requires the VA to submit to Congress its proposed plans for streamlining the claims process, and report to Congress a year after the changes are made.

H.R. 3218 passed the House in a bipartisan vote, and will next be sent to the Senate for consideration.