Press Release


Measure to assist veterans and expansion of health benefits

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Washington, May 16, 2008 | Eddie Zavala (956-725-0639) | comments

Washington, DC- U.S Congressman Henry Cuellar voted in support of the Iraq War supplemental bill that provides funding for domestic initiatives, including an updated G.I. Bill for veterans as well as an expansion of unemployment benefits. This provision, one of three in the supplemental bill, passed the House by a vote of 256-166.

"We must stand behind our men and women who are protecting us overseas," said Congressman Cuellar.  "Once home, veterans will now be provided with adequate resources to obtain a quality education at our nation's finest institutions of higher education."
The supplemental appropriations measure expands GI benefits for veterans' education, allowing veterans who enlisted in military service after September 11, 2001, to benefit from benefits that match the current costs of obtaining post secondary education. The third provision of this measure also extends unemployment benefits for workers who have exhausted their benefits by up to 13 weeks in every state as well as an additional 13 weeks in states with high unemployment.

The third portion of the supplemental bill also includes $461 million for the Merida Initiative in an effort to curb the violence that is the result of the illegal trafficking of drugs through Mexico. The Country of Mexico will receive $400 million in equipment to help fight the drug-related crime through this initiative, while countries in Central America will receive $61.5 million in equipment.

"We need to put an end to this epidemic, and this cannot be accomplished without the participation of Mexico and Central America," said Congressman Cuellar. "I have met with President Calderon, and I can attest to his commitment to address the trafficking of drugs within Mexico in an efficient and effective matter".

The Senate is poised to enact similar supplemental funding legislation next week. After the Senate has acted on their version of this measure, both congressional chambers will come together to resolve any differences. Congressional leadership hopes to have this measure on the President's desk in early June for signature.

Congressman Henry Cuellar is a member of the House Homeland Security, Small Business,
and Agriculture Committees in the 110th Congress.  Accessibility to constituents, education, health care and economic development are his priorities.


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