Jimmy Panetta

03/31/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/31/2020 16:18

Congressman Panetta Applauds Passage of the Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020

SALINAS, CA - Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) applauded unanimous House passage of the bipartisan Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, H.R. 6322. The legislation minimizes the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student veterans as schools and universities have taken proactive measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. Congressman Panetta cosponsored the measure.

'We must ensure that student veterans do not lose their GI benefits due to adverse impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 will help student veterans continue their studies without interruption, loss of income, or unexpected expenses,' said Congressman Panetta. 'It is my hope and expectation that the Senate will act swiftly to pass the legislation so it may be signed into law.'

'We cannot let any student veterans lose their work study payments, have their housing cut off, exhaust their disaster housing stipend continuation payments, or lose their benefits due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic,' said House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA). 'I was proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with my friend Ranking Member Dr. Roe last week, and I'm so pleased to see that these key fixes are one step closer to becoming a reality for our student veterans. I urge the Senate to quickly follow suit, so we can safeguard our student veterans' benefits.'

'I know firsthand how important the GI Bill is since I relied on it to put food on the table for my family after I got out of the Army,' said House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Ranking Member Phil Roe (R-TN). 'With so many veterans struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has never been more important than it is now to make sure the GI Bill is there for them, just like it was there for me. The bill that the House passed today builds on the work we have already done to ensure that GI Bill benefits remain protected for the duration of this crisis. By including further protections to preserve work study and vocational rehabilitation and employment programs and allowing students to maintain their GI Bill eligibility next semester if their school was forced to close, we are sending a message to the hundreds of thousands of student veterans and their families that they are not alone in their time of need. I applaud the House for working quickly to pass this bill and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to follow suit and deliver this bill to the President's desk without delay.'

The Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 builds on recent legislation, passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by the president, to ensure student veterans will not see a reduction in their monthly housing allowance as a result of their schools moving to online instruction due to COVID-19. This legislation has been endorsed widely by the VSO community and cosponsored by 51 Members including Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity Chair Levin. Final text of H.R. 6322 can be found here.