Several Senators have rolled out a new stab at enhancing the Montgomery GI Bill to improve benefits for both active duty and Guard and Reserve. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), in an April 22 joint statement with Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), said, “Our legislation increases the monthly benefit for active duty and reserve personnel and greatly expands the education benefits available to service members,” including letting them transfer their benefits to spouses and children. Burr called the increase in benefits “long overdue” and the legislation “simple and fair.” There have been efforts in the past few years to equalize benefits between active and reserve forces and even to place the entire program under VA. The Pentagon has opposed some of these ideas. McCain believes, along with Graham and Burr, that their package “promotes recruitment and retention.” The measure would increase benefits for active duty members to $1,500 per month, rising to $2,000 per month after 12 or more years of service, and offer a “significantly increased benefit” for reservists.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.