Leahy Joins In Introducing Legislation To Improve Access To Education Benefits For National Guard And Reserve

. . . Legislation Enables Them To Use The GI Bill And Tuition Assistance Concurrently, Providing Parity With Active Duty Servicemembers

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, April 11, 2019) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has joined Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.), members of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, in introducing the Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act, legislation that would enable members of the Guard and Reserve to concurrently use GI Bill benefts and Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) programs to fund their education.

Leahy is Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and a longtime member of its Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which handles the Senate’s work in writing the annual defense budget bills.  Leahy also is Co-Chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus.

Leahy said:  “For so many Vermonters and other Americans, the National Guard is a way to serve the nation and their communities, and to open up opportunities in their lives.  With this bill we ensure women and men who sign up for the National Guard get all the educational benefits the nation intended they receive. It will allow access to all the opportunities their service provides, and allow a grateful nation the benefit of their full service.”

“Our legislation is all about supporting our Guard and Reserve members and ensuring they receive the benefits that they have earned,” said Senator Hoeven. “The Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act improves access to education benefits for Guard members and ensures that they are able to utilize their benefits in the same way as active duty servicemembers.”

“I am pleased to join with my colleague Senator Hoeven to offer this simple fix to a problem that should not exist. Our men and women in uniform deserve the benefits they have earned without strings attached. The Montgomery GI Bill Parity Act will remove this unnecessary barrier to education benefits for Guard and Reserve members,” said Senator Boozman.

Currently, individuals who qualify for Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) or the “Post 9/11 GI Bill” are, by statute, able to simultaneously use Tuition Assistance (TA) and GI Bill benefits. In late 2014, DoD issued a policy that prohibits similar concurrent usage of TA with the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR). The Hoeven-Boozman legislation directs DoD to update its policy and allow Guard and Reserve members to utilize both their GI Bill benefits and the Tuition Assistance concurrently, providing parity with active duty servicemembers.

The legislation is also cosponsored by Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). 

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