Public Law 346, passed in the 78th Congress on June 22, 1944, was technically known as the Servicemen`s Readjustment Act of 1944, but popularly as the G.I. Bill of Rights, or simply the G.I. Bill. It provided a range of benefits to the veterans who would soon begin returning from duty in World War II.
The treatment of returning World War II veterans stood in sharp contrast to that of the veterans of World War I. The G.I. Bill provided for temporary unemployment relief, guarantees of loans on homes, farms, and businesses, and educational opportunities. Under the provision of the G.I. Bill, more than half of the eligible veterans (having served at least 90 days, not dishonorably discharged) availed themselves of further education. During the 12 years of its operation, the cost of the program was above $14 billion.
Among the principal proponents of the G.I. Bill was the American Legion. At its annual convention in Chicago during September 1944, Brigadier General Frank Hines, administrator of Veterans` Affairs, spoke to the delegates:
The GI Bill of Rights also incorporated many other excellent provisions, including that of declaring the Veterans Administration to be an essential war agency and entitled, secondly only to the War and Navy departments, to priorities in personnel, equipment, supplies, and material under any laws, executive orders, and regulations pertaining to priorities. The act further declared that in appointments of personnel from civil service registers the administrator of veterans affairs is granted the same authority and discretion as the War and Navy departments and the United State Public Health Service.