Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

WASHINGTON, March 18 -

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Mr. Speaker,

Americaís young warriors risk it all to protect and serve the rest of us. They put themselves in harmís way not only to protect America, but to defend the freedoms of people they have never seen in lands they have never been in. Some join right out of high school with the promise that they can further their education while in the military. This helps not only our troops, but an educated military helps America.

Now the administration has broken another promise. Thousands of troops can no longer go to college because the education program has been scuttled. For the sake of politics, the ìChicken Little Administrationî has handpicked programs to cut that would make Americans feel the sequester the most. One of those programs is the Military Tuition Assistance program.

Mr. Speaker, tuition assistance for our military is not much money. The Pentagon, the Department of Defense, has a budget of $700 billion. This little program is 0.1 percent of the $700 billion Department of Defense program.

The Tuition Assistance program is great because itís one of the ways our government can take care of our men and women who help us. It has allowed members of the military to take 870,000 courses and graduate 50,000 individuals for several degrees. That is remarkable. But the program is gone, thus saith the White House.

Over the past few weeks, Iíve been hearing from several southeast Texans who are disappointed because Washington has broken another promise. Dr. Norman Lefee, a science teacher at Klein High School in Texas, said this:

ìI encourage my students to join the military as a way to open up a possibility for higher education. Oftentimes, they come from families where they are the first high school graduate and the first person to graduate from college. Now that opportunity is being taken away from them. Itís not fair. I got these kids to join the military. Now the Administration has broken its promise.î

Brian wrote me this:

ìI am Active Duty Coast Guard and one of your constituents. I was one class away from obtaining a masterís degree and the Tuition Assistance program was now canceled. Why?î

Jerri from Houston wrote me this:

As a combat medic in the National Guard, I currently use my tuition assistance to pay for my Ph.D. program in clinical psychology. I want to stay in the military. I hope to move directly to a commission on Active Duty as a psychiatrist or psychologist in the Army and serve soldiers with PTSD.

Education is the greatest equalizer, and service membersí access