September 19, 2019 | 47° F

Sen. Cory Booker visits Rutgers Veterans House, proposes plans to expand GI Bill benefits

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New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D) came to Rutgers on Monday and announced plans to extend benefits of the GI bill. He discussed the need for improved educational benefits for veterans returning to school outside of the Veterans House on College Avenue. 

With approximately two dozen Rutgers student veterans standing behind him, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has announced plans to extend benefits of the GI Bill.

In front of Veterans House on the College Avenue campus yesterday, Booker argued for a better deal that improves educational benefits for students returning to school after serving time in the military, according to an article from NJTV.

“One of the issues revealed to me through that very discussion were the critical gaps in current U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs educational benefits. Right now, student vets are running out of education benefits due to the required remedial courses they need as a foundation for continued study,” he said in the article. 

Booker will introduce legislation next week focused on extending GI Bill benefits beyond the current 36 months will go toward helping one-third of recently-separated veterans who need remedial work.  

Signed into law by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, the GI bill has helped to reinforce millions of veterans into the workforce with funding for college, graduate school and training programs, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Under the bill, veterans and their families are eligible to receive money toward the costs of school and training.

The bill generally awards veterans 36 months of entitlement and 15 years of benefits from the last 90 days of consecutive service or more, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Booker's new bill would make it easier to transfer GI Bill benefits to unborn children and rolls back previous penalties for military careers with more than 16 years of service. 

“Improving the prospects for veterans improves the lives of all New Jerseyans because veterans are the backbones of our communities. They possess unique insights, they have incredible skills and veterans in New Jersey are servant leaders for life, not just the time that they were in the military,” Booker said in the article.

University President Robert L. Barchi was also in attendance at the ceremony and said over the last decade the University has stepped up support of its veterans and those currently serving. 

“And we’re proud right now to say that Military Times ranks Rutgers No. 3 in the nation,” Barchi said in the article.

Juan Carlo, an ROTC junior, expressed his feelings toward Booker’s work. 

“It feels good knowing Senator Booker is fighting for the rights and benefits of veterans, it’s something I think you don’t see enough of in politics anymore,” he said. 

Booker also stated his support of a bill that protects the Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, his contemplation of a 2020 run for president and said he would consider former Gov. Chris Christie’s (R-N.J.) eligibility as Attorney General if and when President Donald J. Trump makes the request. 

“I’m taking a little break right now, getting back to work. Over the holidays I’ll give some thought to whether or not I will give my thought to running for president of the United States,” he said.

Christian Zapata

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