THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release November 1, 2000
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Today I have signed into law S. 1402, the "Veterans Benefits and
Health Care Improvement Act of 2000." S. 1402 expresses the Nation's
continued gratitude to our veterans by reauthorizing and making
improvements to a wide range of veterans' benefits and programs.
I am pleased that the Congress has included in S. 1402 significant
benefit increases and other enhancements to the All-Volunteer Force
Educational Assistance Program, which is commonly known as the Montgomery
GI Bill (MGIB). This program helps the men and women who have bravely
served their country in the Armed Forces to adjust to civilian life. In
addition, it is a major tool that the Armed Forces use to recruit highly
qualified servicemembers. This Act increases the basic MGIB benefit for a
3-year period of service to $650 monthly and the rate for a 2-year period
of service to $528 monthly. These rates represent the single largest
benefit increase in MGIB's 15-year history and are similar to the levels of
increase the Vice President and I proposed earlier this year.
This legislation also includes increases for education allowances for
the survivors and dependents of veterans, resulting in a $588 monthly
benefit for a full-time student. Further, this Act will protect these
survivors' and dependents' benefits against inflation by providing annual
cost-of-living adjustments like those adjust-ments that already apply to
veterans' education benefits.
Beyond the significant enhancements to education assistance, this
legislation makes several important changes to disability compensation
benefits. Among them are provisions that will extend monthly disability
allowances, vocational training, and health care to women Vietnam veterans'
children who are born with certain medical conditions. These women
veterans made huge sacrifices to protect our freedom, and it is only just
that their children with resulting medical conditions be compensated.
Similar benefits are currently afforded to such children who were born with
spina bifida, but this Act will expand benefits beyond that one condition.
This legislation also enhances benefits for Filipino veterans of World
War II who currently receive disability compensation and burial benefits at
a rate equal to one-half the rate that U.S. veterans receive. It
reinforces the long-overdue step taken by the Departments of Veterans
Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies
Appropriations Act, 2001, that authorizes the payment of these benefits at
the full rate to Filipino veterans who have become U.S. citizens or are
permanent residents and reside in the United States. In addition, this Act
extends to these veterans the eligibility for burial in national
These benefits are just a few examples of the effects that this
comprehensive bill will have on improving benefits and services for our
veterans. On behalf of a grateful Nation, I am pleased to sign S. 1402.
We are indebted to our veterans for the contributions that they have made
to protect our security and well-being.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE,
November 1, 2000.
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