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House VA Committee Advances Veterans Education Assistance Bill, Including Bilirakis Provision

July 19, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Vice Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Committee, released the below statement after the committee unanimously advanced the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act, H.R. 3218, which includes his provision to modernize the VA’s Information Technology systems for GI Bill claims processing.

“The challenges our Veterans face do not end on the battlefield. After our nation’s heroes fulfill their duty to serve, it then becomes our duty to support them as they return home. Education and career training programs offer Veterans the opportunity to enter a new chapter of their lives.  My colleagues and I on the House VA Committee took a major step towards improving, expanding, and modernizing the GI Bill program for Veterans by advancing this bipartisan legislation today,” said Bilirakis.

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act extends the GI Bill benefits granted to Veterans, their surviving spouses and dependents. It provides significant increases in GI Bill funding, and allows future eligible recipients to use their GI Bill benefits at any point in their lives.

It also includes Bilirakis’ provision, known as the VETERAN Act, which would authorize $30 million to help the VA invest in modernizing their 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 their proposed plans for streamlining the claims process, and report to Congress a year after the changes are made.

The legislation passed out of the House VA Committee unanimously, and will next be considered before the full House of Representatives.