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U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas introduced federal legislation to grant veterans on the GI Bill full educational benefits as colleges and universities move classes online to prevent spread of COVID-19.


Moran, chairman of the Senate’s veterans affairs committee, said GI Bill benefits were based on whether the student veteran attended a physical university in person or enrolled in an online program. Veterans could be in jeopardy of losing or having benefits cut, but the Moran bill and companion legislation in the U.S. House would preserve full benefits.


"Student veterans relying on the GI Bill to attend college should not be stripped of their benefits because universities are moving to online classes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus," Moran. "We must swiftly pass this bill to make certain that veterans still receive the benefits they’ve earned."


Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, a Democrat representing the Kansas City area’s 3rd District, said Congress ought to take steps to offset hardships on workers or businesses undermined by spread of coronavirus.


Federal lawmakers approved an $8.3 billion emergency funding package. It authorizes the Small Business Administration to make $7 billion in low-interest loans to businesses.


"For small businesses in Kansas and across the country, the coronavirus has the potential to cause devastating financial hardship that would have a ripple effect throughout our economy," Davids said.


U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, the 1st District representative and candidate for the U.S. Senate, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was expected to have 4 million virus test kids ready to ship to public labs across the United States by the end of the week.


"This is not a time for panic, but instead a time to put into place those practices and procedures we have been taught to reduce the spread of germs," Marshall said.


U.S. Rep. Ron Estes, a Republican serving the congressional district dominated by Wichita, applauded President Donald Trump’s decision to restrict flights from Europe. He said the disease shouldn’t be used as a political tool.


"Now is the time to unify as Americans and work together, without partisan politics, to combat this viral threat," he said.