Congress may boost military benefits

WASHINGTON, Ark., Sept. 28 (UPI) -- A U.S. House of Representatives joint committee Wednesday heard testimony about extending military education benefits.

The Joint House Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs Subcommittees announced in a statement that they had received testimony on expanded educational benefits for selected military reserves under the auspices of the Montgomery G.I. Bill.


Military Personnel Subcommittee Chairman John McHugh, R-NY, said. "Our discussion today is an important step in the process of making improvements to the education programs that serve our reserve forces."

"Reservists and guardsmen are performing important roles in the war on terror and are making the same sacrifices as our active duty members," McHugh said. "There is no group that deserves a robust G.I. Bill more than the members of the Reserve components and the National Guard who have so expertly and gallantly stepped up and confronted our enemies across the globe."

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. testifying before the committee members, said that when the Montgomery GI Bill, MGIB, was signed into law, few members of the Selected Reserve were mobilized. However, since Sept. 11, 2001, "more than 500,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve have been called up and more than 70,000 have pulled two or more tours of duty," she said.


Michael Dominguez, principal deputy under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told the hearing he believed the educational benefit had been an enormous retention tool. "The Montgomery GI Bill for the Selected Reserve has been a very effective recruiting and retention incentive," he said. "Not only does the MGIB-SR program help maintain consistently high retention rates, but it also increases the education level of the Reserve force."

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