(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D- Mont.) and Catherine Cortez Masto’s (D-Nev.) Responsible Education Mitigating Option and Technical Extensions (REMOTE) Act is on its way to President Biden’s desk following unanimous passage in the Senate today. This vital piece of legislation will ensure that student veterans can access their full housing allowances while pursuing education remotely during the pandemic. These housing benefits were set to be cut by almost half this month, which would have created extreme uncertainty for veterans who could have been forced to abandon their education in order to make up the cost of rent or a mortgage.
“Our bill is now one step away from ensuring student veterans in Montana and across the country have the resources and support they need to continue seeking a quality education during the pandemic and beyond,” said Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “No veteran should ever have to face uncertainty when it comes to their future, and I’m thankful for Senator Cortez Masto’s leadership in extending housing and other critical benefits for the men and women who bravely served our nation in uniform.”
“This bill will give student veterans and their families the peace of mind that their housing benefits won’t be cut just because they are still learning remotely” said Cortez Masto. “I am proud to have introduced this important legislation that will help veterans in Nevada and across the country continue to pursue their academic future without worrying about how they will pay the rent.”
At a Committee hearing led by Tester earlier this year on improving education and employment opportunities for veterans during the pandemic, the REMOTE Act received strong backing from veterans stakeholders in Montana and across the country. Once signed into law, the bill will extend remote learning waivers, simplify the verification process for tuition reimbursement to minimize unnecessary paperwork for student veterans, and fix an error in current law to ensure U.S. universities can continue to recruit foreign students.
As Chairman, Tester fought tirelessly to secure billions in the American Rescue Plan to deliver targeted relief to veterans across the country recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. He also successfully championed two bipartisan fixes through the Senate last year to provide full, uninterrupted benefits to veterans on the GI Bill as universities transitioned classes online, and voted to extend authorities for critical programs as part of a Continuing Resolution. The REMOTE Act extends and builds on these critical efforts, ensuring student veterans have the support they need and earned for the duration of the national health emergency.
Full text of the Senators’ REMOTE Act can be found HERE.