August 3rd, 2009
11:46 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama, veterans celebrate expansion of G.I. bill

FAIRFAX, Virginia (CNN) - President Barack Obama joined hundreds of young veterans marking the implementation of a new "G.I. Bill" on Monday, calling the expanded benefits package part of a "moral obligation to those who sacrificed greatly on our behalf."

The updated version of the famous World War II legislation significantly expand education benefits for men and women who served at least three years in the military after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

It provides as much as a full scholarship at in-state public universities for eligible veterans, service members, reservists, and National Guard members.

The first tuition checks authorized by the measure were mailed on August 1.

The new G.I. legislation, which was signed into law last year, was opposed by many Republicans worried it will deplete retention rates among those currently serving in the military at a time when recruitment efforts are struggling.

Obama, who backed the new benefits package as a senator, celebrated its implementation with a group of student veterans at George Mason University in northern Virginia.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Pam

    wow. terrific.
    Obama sees fit to make this one a priority, while he sits on his hands and does nothing about Don't Ask Don't Tell. Hundreds of men and women, including vitally needed interpreters, have been discharged under this president's watch. To throw his own words back at him "All we need is some leadership to change DADT." Quite the leader.

    August 3, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. Sam Sixpack

    Sure is a good thing this was able to magically become law last year without GWB's signature. Where do all these left wing-nuts come from?

    August 3, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Dee, USAF (Ret)

    Pres "O", We Vet's say "Thank You".

    August 3, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Angie in Pa

    The republicans only want to use the troops for their senseless wars anything else NO!

    August 3, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. Sam Sixpack

    GWB really let us down: he did nothing to educate the swarms of gullible Stockholm-syndrome groupies who worship this latest group of greedy crooks.

    August 3, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. RRL

    To all of you singing praise to almighty BHO, this bill was signed into law by former president George W. Bush. There were Democrats who opposed it as well as some Republicans. The current president is simply attempting to take credit for something he had nothing to do with.

    August 3, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Will

    Finally, there is a national policy that reflects the Illinois Veterans Grant. I served 4 years in the Marine Corps and attended the Universtity of Illinois paid for by the state because I was a veteran. Too many of my fellow former Marines struggled to even get into school after serving and most dropped out because they couldn't afford to attend.

    Thank you for doing what I have always felt was the number one thing to do for all veterans who honorably serve in the military. If service men and women can volunteer and potentially die for the country, then the country can surely give them the opportunity to get a bachelors degree.

    August 3, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. Shingo

    Thank you Mr. President.

    August 3, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Aubrey

    Wonderful! This is what patriotism looks like.

    August 3, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Kelby In Houston, TX

    There is just no way they could hate on Obama of this one.
    After all the other times Obama did something (anything) and I thought they wouldn't hate on him and they did hate on him, I just KNOW the could not hate on Obama for supporting the troops.
    The conservative right LOVES our troops and they are glad to see Obama and THE US GOVERNMENT supporting them!!!

    August 3, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. yuri

    Once again, BHO has evoked a wide repertoire of responses after his relief actions for the real heroes of our nation. We can say kudos to BHO, but we fear that there, still, is a pantheon of BHO haters, who berate him, regardless.

    August 3, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Candy West Virginia

    Republicans will send a man to war in a minute but will do nothing to support him. Thank you President Obama for keeping your word and doing something the rethugs don't do, support the veterans.

    August 3, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Brock

    I think reading comprehension is lacking...

    "Obama, who backed the new benefits package as a senator..."

    August 3, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. lynn in NM

    Since when has Obama cared about any moral obligation to the troops? He was the one that wanted them to pay for their own medical bills, even though they had been injured in the military. Too little, too late. Guess things are heating up for him and he needs a few more votes for '10. Photo ops.

    August 3, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Pragmatic

    Republican Leadership loves war ... but their children seldom serve in the armed forces: Mitt's grown sons were serving their country by riding around in an air-conditioned bus to get Daddy elected.

    Anything that has to do with the cost of protecting our troops is "too expensive" for these fiscal conservatives.... let the soldier's family buy the bullet proof vests. Pat Tillman's family was billed because Pat didn't return his in good condition. Speaking against this bill was how McCain really feels about veterans ...

    August 3, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. Enlightened Voter

    It always takes a democrat to really support the troups, the gop supports the military industry.
    awaitingliberalizationbyCNN – where were you the last 8 years? Seriously, what planet did you live on? You are a typical, bitter, delusioned and obviously uneducated republican. Believe it or not there are other info vessels besides faux news and lush limpaugh. You ought to broaden your horizens.

    August 3, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    Hey republicans, this is true patriotism. Notice how the gop opposes every measure to expand gi benefits.

    August 3, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. Nicholas

    What about the 1st Gulf War Veterans who were completely forgotten and received NO special benefits or retention payments. We are the forgotten soldiers of a war that was all about Kuwaits Oil. Even Kuwait didn't offer to help us out even though we liberated their country from a ruthless dictator and preserved their royal family. What about the GULF WAR I VETERANS???

    August 3, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Sam Sixpack

    Asked point blank whether it was right to suggest it is a matter of when, not if, taxes will be raised, Geithner responded, "It is absolutely right."

    August 3, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |

    great job, Mr. President

    August 3, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    HOORAH Mr. President!

    August 3, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  22. Dave, Central Illinois

    As usual, Obama taking credit for the work of the prior administration – anything bad is Bush's fault, anything good is of Obama's making...

    August 3, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. Kate in SW Fla

    I remember McCain opposing this, then taking credit for it when it passed. Guess what? the Veterans noticed and the rest is history. Lowest % of veternas for a GOPer since desegregation drove them all out of the Democratic party.

    August 3, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. smokey

    I think it's about time the Democrats and the American people speak out strongly against the mis-information and scare tactics the GOP are pushing on the Amercian People..This is so typical of them, and is really just away of going against anything Pres Obama tries to implement..But guess what, GOP, this time it is not going to work, because we have so many who are willing to work and put the real message out there..Get ready! Change is about to come again !!!!

    August 3, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. Jim Doyle

    You fail to mention in this article that the most prominent Repug to oppose this legislation last year was Mr. American Hero Military Patriotic whatever, John McCain. What a crock!

    August 3, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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