Legislative Update: Budget Resolution, Veterans Training

Senate Budget Resolution Markup

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad released his fiscal 2011 budget resolution (summary here) on Tuesday.  The resolution is $4 billion below President Obama’s discretionary spending request and includes reconciliation instructions to the Finance Committee to reduce the deficit by $2 billion in fiscal 2011. The Budget Committee held a markup of the resolution on Wednesday and Thursday. Budget resolutions are non-binding congressional blueprints that set spending and revenue goals and made budget deficit predictions. It would be up to the Appropriations Committee to decide which programs to cut the $4 billion from.

The Senate will next address the financial reform bill, so it appears the Budget Resolution will not come up on the floor for a couple of weeks.  Conrad said the Committee report would be filed on Monday. No word yet when the House Budget Committee may markup, but it could be as early as next week.

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Hearing on Post 9/11 GI Bill

On Wednesday the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing to discuss the implementation of the Post-9/11 GI bill. Committee Chair Senator Daniel Akaka intends to introduce a bill before Memorial Day to make corrections and improvements to the program. Witnesses from both the American Legion and the National Association of State Approving Agencies suggested the Post-9/11 GI bill should allow veterans to use benefits at institutions offering non-degree programs.

In addition to bills introduced earlier this session to address this problem, on Tuesday Senator Patty Murray introduced the Veterans Employment Act of 2010 which also proposes to correct this issue.   That bill would expand the Post 9-11 GI bill to allow veterans to use their benefits for training at non-degree-granting institutions.

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