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Kaine Veterans Bill Passes House And Senate, Heads To Trump For Signature

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Tonight, the Senate unanimously passed an omnibus veterans package that included Senator Kaine’s bipartisan bill, the Veterans Education Experience Improvement Act of 2017, which will provide resources and training for the officials at educational institutions – including colleges across Virginia - who serve student veterans, helping them achieve positive education outcomes. After conversations with veterans and education officials, Kaine introduced the bill with U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) in July to improve veterans’ experience when using GI Bill education benefits. With the House already passing the legislation last week, the bill will now head to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

In response to the unanimous passage of the legislation, Senator Kaine said:

“I’m proud of the bipartisan work that went into this bill to help improve veterans’ civilian experience and access to GI Bill education benefits. I’m always looking for ways to make the transition to civilian life smoother for veterans and their families, and passage of The Veterans Education Experience Improvement Act will ensure they have the resources necessary to succeed.”

Kaine’s bill was included as a part of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017,  bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Jon Tester (D-MT) and co-sponsored by Kaine that seeks to improve veterans’ education benefits and enhance the post-9/11 G.I. Bill. This is the first major comprehensive reform of the post-9/11 G.I. Bill since its inception. The bill removes the 15-year limitation on availability of G.I. Bill benefits, making it a life-long education promise and makes other much needed updates for reservists, Purple Heart recipients, veterans who face school closures while enrolled, and surviving family members. The legislation also provides increased resources and authority for educational assistance to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs, as well as computer programming and career and technical training.

Through his work in the Senate, Kaine has worked to reduce veterans unemployment and help ease the transition from active duty to a civilian career. Kaine’s first bill he introduced in the Senate, the Troop Talent Act, provides active duty servicemembers with the tools they need to receive credentials for the skills they acquire through military training. Key provisions of the Troop Talent Act passed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2014.