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VFW ADVOCACY HELPS SAVE TUITION ASSISTANCE

VFW support is unrelenting.

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In March, Congress voted to reinstate military Tuition Assistance programs as part of the continuing resolution to fund the federal government through the remainder of the fiscal year. The amendment that saved Tuition Assistance, S. Amdt. 72, was introduced by Sens. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Kay Hagan (D-NC) and championed by the VFW leading up to the Senate vote.

VFW Commander-in-Chief John Hamilton sent an “all hands” call to VFW advocates in an effort to muster support for the Inhofe/Hagan amendment. However, Senate debate over the continuing resolution stalled before the amendment could be considered, leading many on Capitol Hill to believe that hope for restoring Tuition Assistance through the continuing resolution was lost. Inhofe and Hagan quickly scrambled to introduce stand-alone legislation as a contingency plan.
 
Fortunately, VFW advocacy was unrelenting. In two short days, VFW advocates generated more than 14,000 calls and emails to Senate and House offices from every state. Finally, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) presented the amendment, without objection, to the Senate floor, where it later passed by voice vote with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Prior to the amendment, the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps cut off Tuition Assistance enrollment entirely in an effort to generate greater savings through budget sequestration. The Inhofe/Hagan amendment requires each military branch to continue operating their respective Tuition Assistance programs proportionate to budget sequestration.

The Marine Corps was the first branch to announce its suspension of the program. Since their announcement, the VFW has heard from countless service members across each service wondering what to do next. The VFW has been a longtime proponent of military Tuition Assistance and has been working diligently to reinstate and preserve the benefitefforts that culminated with the passage of the continuing resolution.

The House officially passed their version of the continuing resolution on Thursday, March 21, prior to the spring recess. President Barack Obama signed it into law on Tuesday, March 26. The services will now develop plans to reinstate their Tuition Assistance programs in accordance with the law, and the VFW will be watching closely.  

In the meantime, take a moment to thank your legislators for supporting military Tuition Assistance by clicking here.

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