There was a lot going on in the month of November that got little or no media coverage. So this week I will be discussing legislation that was introduced in the House of Representatives during November. This legislation will probably affect everyone who is or has served in the armed services since September 11, 2001. Also something happened in Jamaica on November 29th that I will discuss later in this article. I believe this could have world wide repercussions.
On November 12th the Spouses of Heroes Education Act (H.R. 3441) was referred to the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. This bill was introduced on October 30th by Representative Dina Titus of Nevada.
A Post-9/11 GI Bill offshoot known as Fry Scholarships provides benefits to surviving children of servicemen who died in the line of duty on or after September 1, 2001. This legislation would add surviving spouses in addition to the children of fallen troops. This bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity on November 12, 2013.
This was followed on November 15th by Representative Jim McDermott of Washington introducing H.R. 3514, the Education Assistance Enhancement Act. Currently if a service member wants to transfer benefits to his spouse or his children, he must make that decision while still an active member of the military.
McDermott’s bill would give these service men & women up to five years after separation or retirement from the military, to make this decision. On November 25th this Bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.
On the same day McDermott also introduced H.R. 3415-Increased Age Limit for Post-9/11 Education Assistance Dependents Act. Currently children must use transferred GI Bill benefits by age 26. McDermott’s bill would raise the cutoff age to 29 years, thus allowing for advanced degrees. This legislation was also referred to the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity on November 25th.
Representative Bill Foster of Illinois introduced H.R. 3600-GI Education Benefit Fairness Act on November 21st. Apparently some 100 foster children were receiving benefits, but were cutoff in mid-September after a review of the current law. Families were then required to repay the money.
Foster’s legislation would make foster children potential beneficiaries of transferred benefits. If passed this legislation would retroactively cover those families and would apply to future benefit transfers. This Bill was referred to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs on November 21st.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill has already served one million students at a cost of some $35 billion. Although all of these proposed bills are well intentioned, they come at a time of tight budgets, and many veterans fear that if passed they will be funded by reducing other veteran benefits, because that is how the last overhaul of the GI Bill was paid for. This of course left many other student veterans holding an empty money sack. Only time will tell what these proposals may cost and how they will be funded.
Now! On to Jamaica and what occurred there on November 26, 2013. Jamaican authorities seized 3,300 missile warheads and machines to make missiles and bullets. It seems custom officials discovered the weapons aboard a ship at Kingston Wharf. They declined to say where the shipment originated or its destination, but no one had been arrested as of November 29th. The police are asking for help from international agencies, as this is the first time they have made such a discovery.
Quote for the Week: “Ill luck comes by pounds and goes away by ounces.”----Unknown.