WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, delivered the following statement in support of Senator John Warner's (R-VA) GI Bill transferability amendment to the GI Bill provisions within the Supplemental Appropriations Bill.
Senator Akaka's remarks are copied below:
I am delighted to be an original cosponsor of the amendment offered by the distinguished senior Senator from Virginia, Senator John Warner, which would clarify that the provisions in current law regarding the transferability of educational assistance benefits to family members would apply to the new GI Bill for the 21st Century. This amendment would further give the Department of Defense the ability to conduct a two-year test of somewhat expanded transferability options to individuals who have completed four years of active duty service, who agree to complete an additional six years of service, and who meet such additional criteria as the Secretary of Defense established.
I have consistently stated that I believe that transferability can be an important retention tool for the military and that the provisions of current law would apply to the provisions in S. 22 as revised. We should continue to provide DOD with the ability to offer transferable education benefits to the families of much-needed servicemembers. However, I have also noted that there is no data that demonstrate the retention value of the transferability option.
It is on this basis that I believe that this authority needs to be continued and expanded slightly in the context of this new GI Bill for the 21st Century. But to rely on transferability solely or in lieu of the legislation that has been carefully developed by Senator Webb and others would be a mistake.
I urge the Senate to approve the amendment offered by Senator Warner.