Jun 19 2008

Transferability of Veterans GI Benefits Included in Iraq Supplemental

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the transferability provision being included in the Iraq supplemental funding bill.  Transferability was one of the major differences between the Webb GI Bill and the competing proposal offered by Graham along with Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Richard Burr (R-North Carolina).


The transferability provision allows service members to transfer their education benefits to their spouse or children.  It will bolster recruitment and retention in addition to encouraging service members to continue their military careers.


Graham said:


“I am very pleased our transferability provision was included in the Iraq supplemental.  There is no doubt this is a long overdue and much needed change in policy.  While the transferability provision is worthwhile I have real reservations about the process used to pass the GI benefit legislation into law.  The provision did not go through committee markup and we were offered little chance on the Senate floor to make improvements.  Congress shouldn’t be doing the people’s business in this fashion.


“One of the major concerns that Senators McCain, Burr and I had with the Webb bill was that it did not include transferability.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Webb bill would have hurt reenlistment by 16 percent.  It never made sense to us that we would penalize service members who decided to make the military their career.


“It's in our own national interest to retain the best, brightest, and most experienced in our Armed Forces.  The transferability provision provides greatly improved incentives for service members who wish to stay in the military.


“Under transferability, service members can transfer their benefits to their spouse and children.  This option recognizes the sacrifices made by both the military family as well as the service member, and this provision has been well-received by the military community.  A service member who chooses to make the military their career will be able to use this benefit to pay for their children’s college education.


“Transferability is sound policy and it makes sense to reward military members and their families who choose to reenlist.  Transferability will dramatically enhance our ability to recruit and retain the all volunteer force necessary to win the War on Terror.


“I’m very glad to see that our position won the day and transferability was included in the supplemental.”