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Rutherford's Veterans Education Bill Signed Into Law

August 21, 2017
Press Release
President Also Signs Into Law Legislation to Authorize New VA Clinic in Jacksonville

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Rutherford issued the following statement after President Trump signed into law two important bills for veterans - the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, and a bill to extend the authorization of the Veterans Choice health care program which also includes the authorization for a new outpatient clinic in Jacksonville.  These bipartisan, bicameral packages are the product of collaboration between many veteran service organizations, the House and Senate VA Committees, and veteran advocates.  Congressman Rutherford’s Julian Woods Yellow Ribbon Expansion Act is included in the legislative package and is the first bill he authored to become law.

Congressman John Rutherford said “We are a step closer to providing veterans in Northeast Florida increased access to both excellent healthcare and education.  When our brave men and women put on the uniform to protect our nation, we have a responsibility to provide for them and their families.  These two pieces of legislation will make it easier for veterans to access the health and education benefits they have earned.  The Harry Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 reforms the GI Bill by removing the time frame in which benefits must be used and includes my legislation to expand the Yellow Ribbon Program to include those on the Fry Scholarship.  The authorization for a replacement outpatient clinic in Jacksonville will make it easier for the over 150,000 veterans in Northeast Florida to access the services they need.  I am grateful to President Trump, Secretary Shulkin, and Chairman Roe for their unending dedication to those that have given everything for our nation.” 

President Trump signed into law the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2017, which makes significant reforms to veterans GI Bill educational benefits.  It includes Rutherford’s Julian Woods Yellow Ribbon Expansion Act which expands eligibility for the Yellow Ribbon Program to recipients of the Fry Scholarship, which funds tuition for surviving spouses and dependents of those killed in action.  The bill is named in honor of Petty Officer 3rd Class Julian Woods, a Jacksonville native and Hospital Corpsman in Fallujah during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Petty Officer Woods was killed by enemy fire when rushing to the aid of a fallen solider and is survived by his daughter.  More information on the GI Bill reform package can be found here. More information on Congressman Rutherford’s Julian Woods Yellow Ribbon Program Expansion Act can be found here.

The President also signed into law S. 114, which not only extends the authorization of the Veterans Choice Program but also authorizes leases for 28 VA medical facilities, including $18.6 million for a replacement outpatient clinic in Jacksonville. For more information on this bill, click here.

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