WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) joined the House Monday in passing bipartisan legislation to strengthen veterans’ educational benefits. The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 [H.R. 3218] – cosponsored by Fitzpatrick - improves and extends GI Bill benefits by removing time restrictions for service members using the GI Bill, consolidating the GI Bill into a single program over time to reduce administrative costs, increasing GI Bill funding for Reservists and Guardsmen, and supporting veterans who enter certain technical courses.

Prior to the bill’s passage, Fitzpatrick addressed the House on the importance of investing in our veterans’ educations. His full remarks as prepared for delivery are below. Watch or download the footage HERE.

“Since 1944, the GI Bill has provided veterans the opportunity to invest in themselves and their futures through access to education benefits. My father attended college on the GI Bill following his service to our country – launching his life, and putting our family on the path to success.

While the world has changed since 1944, the dedication and service of our men and women in uniform remains constant. These volunteer-warriors stand ready to defend our nation in theaters around the globe. While we can never fully thank them for their commitment, we must endeavor to assist them and their families wherever possible.

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act improves and extends the benefits granted to veterans and their surviving dependents through the GI Bill – helping to ease the transition from active duty to civilian life by paving the way with new career opportunities and technical education.

This bipartisan legislation is a crucial step to investing in the success of our veterans and advancing the common cause of serving those who have served us so honorably.”

H.R. 3218 includes budget-neutral provisions that have been proposed and prioritized by Veterans Service Organizations. It is named for the principal architect of the original GI Bill, Harry W. Colmery.

“This bill, as currently written, would launch a new era for all who have honorably served in uniform, and for the nation as a whole,” said John Kamin, the American Legion’s Assistant Director of the National Veteran Employment and Education Division

Additionally, the House passed several other measures dealing with veterans, including:

  • H.R. 282 – Military Residency Choice Act 
  • H.R. 1058 – VA Provider Equity Act, as amended 
  • H.R. 1690 – Department of Veterans Affairs Bonus Transparency Act, as amended 
  • H.R. 2006 – VA Procurement Efficiency and Transparency Act
  • H.R. 2781 – Ensuring Veteran Enterprise Participation in Strategic Sourcing Act 
  • H.R. 2749 – Protecting Business Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2017
  • H.R. 95 – Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act, as amended 
  • H.R. 1848 – Veterans Affairs Medical Scribe Pilot Act of 2017, as amended