INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A bipartisan proposal to help veterans impacted by school closures unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday as part of a landmark GI Bill reform package.
U.S. Rep. Luke Messer, a Republican from Indiana, and U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, a Democrat from California, spearheaded the proposal. The Takano-Messer proposal retroactively restores GI Bill benefits to veterans who were attending Carmel, Indiana-based ITT Technical Institute and California-based Corinthian Colleges, both of which closed abruptly impacting tens of thousands of students nationwide, including thousands of veterans.
The Takano-Messer proposal passed the House as part of the Harry Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, which improves and modernizes several aspects of the GI Bill.
"Today's bipartisan GI Bill reform package is a big win for our veterans. Among many improvements, the bill helps thousands of veterans who lost their GI Bill benefits when ITT Tech closed," Messer said in a news relesae. "Our military men and women count on their GI Bill benefits to build a career and life after serving our country. This bill will make sure they get that chance."
The reform package also advanced a measure from U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, a Republican from Indiana. The Veterans TEST Accessibility Act allows veterans to be reimbursed for approved licensing, certification and national tests, while still eligible to use their remaining GI Bill benefits for additional education expenses in the same month.
"The Veterans TEST Accessibility Act does just what the title implies - it gives our veterans simpler, fairer access to tests, like the SAT and GRE, as well as licensing and certification tests, like certifications for mechanics, firefighters, and realtors," Brooks said in a statement read on the House floor.