Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bill Introduced To Continue Military Tuition Assistance

Over the past few weeks since the "sequester" cuts went into effect, Military Personnel have been outraged to hear that their Tuition Assistance benefits were cut by the White House. Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma introduced a bill that may correct that.

S. 614 is titled "A bill to require the continuation of tuition assistance programs for members of the Armed Forces for the remainder of fiscal year 2013". The bill was introduced on March 19. 2013 by Senator Inhofe (R-OK)with bipartisan co-sponsorship from from Socialist Democratic Senator Kay Hagan from North Carolina. The bill text is not yet available through the Library of Congress site.

The bill will allow for funds to be transferred into the military education benefits funds in order for military service members to continue to receive their tuition assistance benefits. Tuition Assistance to the military service members benefits both the military members and the armed services themselves. The better education the force is, the better they can perform their duties and missions to defend this great nation.. Furthermore, college credits earned during military service better assist veterans in attaining employment upon separation. This improves the workforce and our nation's overall economy.

Sen. Inhofe released this statement in regards to the bill:

“Sen. Hagan and I are determined to see the military tuition assistance program restored immediately for our hardworking, active-duty service members. This is an earned benefit that not only assists in recruiting and retention efforts for our all-volunteer force, but it also improves the lives of our men and women as they seek leadership opportunities within the military. Furthermore, our youngest veterans are currently facing high unemployment rates upon exiting the service. We are doing our brave military members and America a disservice if we take away a program that can be critical in assisting their re-entry into the civilian workforce. I applaud the Navy’s recent decision to maintain the tuition assistance program, which goes to show education benefits can and should be prioritized. As our nation’s defense faces unprecedented budget cuts, it’s critical we reestablish the right priorities to support our military and this bill starts us on that path."

Here is the major portion of the bill's text:


SECTION 1. REQUIREMENT FOR CONTINUATION OF AUTHORIZED TUITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES FOR REMAINDER OF FISCAL YEAR 2013.

  (a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretaries of the military departments shall carry out tuition assistance programs for members of the Armed Forces during the remainder of fiscal year 2013 using amounts specified in subsection 1(b).

  (b) AMOUNTS.—The minimum amount used by the Secretary of a military department for tuition assistance for members of an Armed Force under the jurisdiction of that Secretary pursuant to subsection (a) shall be not less than—

     (1) the amount appropriated or otherwise made available by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 for tuition assistance programs for members of that Armed Force, minus

     (2) an amount that is not more than the percentage of the reduction required to the Operation and Maintenance account for that Armed Force for fiscal year 2013 by the budget sequester required by section 251A of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.