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Isakson, Chambliss applaud troop funding bill approval
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., praised the Senate’s passage of legislation to provide funds for American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on Friday.

“I’m pleased this bill supports our men and women in uniform, who are deployed in defense of freedom, and gives them the resources they deserve and need to accomplish their mission,” Isakson said.

“Our servicemen and women make sacrifices every day so that we can live in the safest, most secure nation in the world,” said Chambliss. “I’m pleased we were able to provide this funding so that all of our soldiers have the resources and tools they need to complete their missions.”

The bill provides $161.8 billion to support ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as $4.6 billion in military construction funding. It includes $350 million for a new hospital at Fort Benning, $7.8 million for a child development center at Fort Gordon and $6 million for a soldier family assistance center at Fort Stewart.

The bill also requires the Iraqi government to match State Department and USAID funds for Iraqi reconstruction on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

The legislation also includes language to increase educational benefits to all members of the military who have served on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001, including activated reservists and National Guard. To qualify for the full benefit, veterans must have served 36 months of qualified active duty, with at least 30 days being served after 9/11.  The educational benefit would also be transferable to spouses and dependents of military personnel, as requested by the Department of Defense.

“The Montgomery G.I. Bill can change lives. It has given countless members of our military access to the college education they otherwise would not have been able to afford,” said Isakson, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. “Our nation’s military and their families have sacrificed tremendously so that our nation can live in freedom. It is important we modernize education benefits for our military to ensure that our servicemembers, veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserve receive the education benefits they deserve.”

“This legislation will greatly expand educational benefits available to servicemembers,” said Chambliss.  “Many servicemen and women would not be able to go to college without the G.I. bill and I’m pleased this legislation modernizes the bill to match both today’s costs of education and the current demands of military service.”