Statement on Signing the New GI Bill Continuation Act

June 1, 1987

I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 1085, the New GI Bill Continuation Act, which will remove the expiration date for programs of educational assistance provided under chapter 30, title 38, United States Code, and under chapter 106, title 10, United States Code. These programs are referred to as the new GI bill -- active duty and the new GI bill -- reserves, respectively. Additionally, this measure revises the declared ``purposes'' provision of chapter 30 to broaden its scope.

Our country has a proud tradition of assisting in the smooth transition of veterans from military to civilian life through educational and training assistance for over 42 years now. Since June 1944 over 18 million veterans and service personnel have received educational assistance under three prior GI bills, including 7.8 million under the World War II GI bill, almost 2.4 million under the Korean conflict GI bill, and over 8 million trainees under the post-Korean Vietnam-era GI bill scheduled to end on December 31, 1989. All of these programs operated in conjunction with the draft and afforded a readjustment opportunity for many people whose lives were involuntarily disrupted. The programs undertaken have taken place in classrooms, businesses, on farms, at schools of higher learning, and even at elementary schools. In terms of content, they range from remedial mathematics to advanced calculus and everything in between.

In October 1984 the Congress enacted Public Law 98 - 525 that established the new GI bill test program. This new law (as amended by Public Law 99 - 576) provided a program of education benefits not only for service personnel and veterans but also for reservists. It is this new GI bill that is today being made permanent and that joins an illustrious family of GI bill programs that have meant so much to millions of veterans of past wars and conflicts and to the welfare of the Nation. With the signing of this bill, it is projected that the number of reservists training under the new GI bill -- reserves will peak in fiscal year 1990 at about 225,000. It is further projected that, over time, the larger program will be the new GI bill -- active duty, with close to 210,000 trainees in fiscal year 1992 and even greater numbers into the mid-1990's.

The GI bill programs have been widely acclaimed as the best investment America has ever made. These programs have promoted quality education for our nation's veterans, providing them the opportunity to be the best that they can be. Our defense of freedom requires a willingness to sacrifice on the part of those in our Armed Forces. The provision of GI bill benefits is one substantial way for the country to express its appreciation to and support of those who serve.

Note: H.R. 1085, approved June 1, was assigned Public Law No. 100 - 48.