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Monday, August 3, 2009

New G.I. Bill Begins

Obama Marks Start of New G.I. Benefits Bill - The Caucus Blog -
President Obama kicked off a new education benefit program for military veterans Monday with a tribute to American troops who have fought for their country since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and a blast at Wall Street financiers who spent that time trying to turn “the quick buck.”

Mr. Obama traveled to George Mason University in the Virginia suburbs of Washington to mark the start of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, which will pay college tuition for those who have served in the armed forces since the attacks on New York and Washington eight years ago. But he also used the opportunity to take a swipe at the financial industry and, by implication, the Bush era.

“We have lived through an age when many people and institutions have acted irresponsibly – when service often took a back seat to short-term profits, when hard choices were put aside for somebody else, for some other time,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s a time when easy distractions became the norm, and the trivial has been taken too seriously.”

He added: “The men and women who have served since 9/11 tell us a different story. While so many were reaching for the quick buck, they were heading out on patrol.”

The new program, co-sponsored by Mr. Obama when he was a senator, was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush last year, but only took effect on Saturday. Intended to replicate the G.I. Bill that educated 8 million veterans after World War II, the program pays for undergraduate education for anyone who has served at least 90 days in the military since Sept. 11, 2001.

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