Roe: House increases military spending, introduces changes to GI Bill

Published 5:47 pm Friday, July 14, 2017

Among the many items tackled by the U.S. Congress this week was legislation to increase military funding and a bill to help veterans make better use of their GI Bill benefits.

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 344 to 81. The NDAA includes increases in military spending, including raises for members of the armed forces.

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“As long as I have the privilege of serving in Congress, I will work to ensure the men and women who serve in uniform have the best equipment and training in the world,” U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, M.D., (R-Tenn.) said. “I take this duty very seriously because the safety and readiness of our servicemembers is of the utmost importance to me.”

“Our Armed Forces are telling us that previous budgets left them stretched thin, so I’m pleased this year’s NDAA provides a 10 percent increase in defense spending, and I’m incredibly proud it includes the largest troop pay increase in eight years,” Roe added. “This is the least Congress can do for the men, women and their families who make tremendous sacrifices to keep us safe and free, and I’m glad to support this legislation.”

This week, Roe said the House Veterans Affairs Committee introduced legislation to make changes to the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

“It made the GI Bill a lifetime benefit,” Roe said. “It really is a fantastic bill.”

Roe said when he completed his military service, veterans had a 10-year window to use their GI Bill benefits and many veterans were not able to take full advantage of the education benefits. The bill, which Roe said had bipartisan support in the committee, removes that time frame limit.

“If a soldier gets out at 25, then at 45 they lose their job and need to go back to school to get some training they will be able to do that,” Roe said of the change.

Another proposed change to the Post 9/11 GI Bill will change the active duty requirement from “180 consecutive days” of active duty to a total of 180 days active duty in order to qualify.