03.16.20

Daines’ Bill Passes Senate Ensuring GI Bill Benefits Aren’t Impacted During Coronavirus Outbreak

This bill will protect GI Benefits for Veterans and Their Dependents

U.S. SENATE –U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that the Senate passed his bipartisan bill that protects veterans and their dependents from losing GI Bill education benefits during the Coronavirus outbreak while they take part in online classes.

“I am proud to fight to protect veteran’s education benefits during the coronavirus outbreak,” Daines said. “Veterans should not be punished for practicing good public health and transitioning to online classes during this pandemic. My bipartisan bill would ensure that GI Bill benefits do not change for veterans and their dependents who are forced to take online classes during this outbreak.”

This bill authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs, which oversees the disbursing of the GI Bill, to keep students at their current benefit levels even if their education moves online.

Under current laws, veterans and their dependents using the GI Bill to attend school online are entitled to different—usually fewer—benefits than those who attend in person. With the coronavirus outbreak, our veterans participating in online school could see their benefits cut in half or shut off completely in the coming months.

Background:

Daines has been leading the efforts in Congress to respond to the coronavirus outbreak impacting the country.    

Three weeks ago, Daines brought his proposal and ideas to President Trump at a meeting in the White House.

On March 16th, 2020, Daines announced $4.5 million awarded to Montana to help support the coronavirus response and protect public health. 

On March 16th, 2020, Daines urged President Trump to ensure Montana tribal communities have access to federal assistance during coronavirus outbreak.

On March 14th, 2020, Daines urged Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Azar and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Gaynor to ensure Indian Health Service (IHS) has the resources needed to provide coronavirus testing for tribal communities.

On March 13th, 2020, Daines issued a statement yesterday on President Trump declaring a national emergency for coronavirus.

On March 12th, 2020, Daines introduced bipartisan legislation to provide disaster unemployment assistance to people who are unable to work due to the current coronavirus outbreak. Assistance would be available to individuals, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors, who are sick, quarantined, furloughed, or whose family circumstances keep them from working or reduce their pay as a result of the coronavirus outbreak or government containment efforts.

On March 9th, 2020, Daines unveiled a slate of proposals and priorities he’s working to advance that will help protect Montana families and their finances during the Coronavirus outbreak including paid leave, temporarily waiving payroll taxes, providing relief from tariffs, and ensuring access to affordable testing.

On March 9th, 2020, Daines sent a letter urging the Trump administration to take swift action to make testing for the Coronavirus affordable.

The following day the IRS immediately announced it would adopt Daines’ proposal to remove financial barriers to testing and treatment for the Coronavirus by allowing high deductible health plans to cover Coronavirus-related testing and treatment before a patient has met their deductible. 

Congress passed the Coronavirus emergency supplemental earlier this month which included $8.3 billion to combat this crisis, including nearly $1 billion for state and local preparedness and response.

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