Casey, Carney move forward with expanded GI Bill education benefits

Sayre Morning Times

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has introduced the Senate companion legislation to U.S. Rep. Chris Carney's legislation that would extend time for National Guard and Reservists to receive GI Bill benefits for education.

“I want to thank Sen. Casey for taking action for our nation's veterans,” said Carney, D-Dimock. “The GI Bill has provided education to many of our nation's fine and honorable men and women, this bill will give the National Guard and Reserve members up to 10 years to take advantage of this benefit. An educated workforce is vital for America to maintain its global competitive edge. Our soldiers already have shown their discipline, their ability to succeed and their love of our country. Veterans' education benefits unlock the promise of America's future.”

“When you consider what our troops sacrifice when they are deployed, the least we can do is make sure their GI Bill benefits don't expire when they return from Iraq,” said Casey. “I commend Congressman Carney for his initiative on this issues and I am pleased to join him on this important issue to reward our Guard and Reserve troops with the opportunity for higher education.”

Currently, there are 19,000 members in the Pennsylvania National Guard. There are armories and air bases in some 90 communities - in 52 counties in the commonwealth.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, over 17,000 of the soldiers and airmen from the Pennsylvania National Guard have deployed in support of the war on terror, said Carney. This number does not include the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corp Reserve.

Because the National Guard and Reserve are playing an ever more increasing role in combat operations, they are finding it harder to achieve their degree while enlisted, said Carney.

“This bill will better allow troops to serve their country honorably and reward themselves with a higher education when finished,” said Carney. “With Sen. Casey giving this bill momentum in the U.S. Senate, we stand a much greater chance of seeing these extended benefits become a reality. We owe this to our troops and our military families back home.”

Carney's legislation is HR 1330 in the House of Representatives and Casey has introduced S. 1688.