President Barack Obama has signed the USA Freedom Act, allowing intelligence officials to restart a curtailed version of their surveillance programs. The move was seen as a major transition away from the post-9/11 intelligence era, and a vindication of the NSA leaks perpetrated by Edward Snowden. "This is the most important surveillance reform bill since 1978, and its passage is an indication that Americans are no longer willing to give the intelligence agencies a blank check," says Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU.
President Barack Obama's popularity is waning, just as President George W. Bush's did in his second term. Bush's approval ratings actually fell more sharply than Obama's, albeit from a higher post-9/11 high, writes Philip Bump.
The veterans' health care bill passed by Congress on Thursday includes a measure that would require public universities to offer veterans in-state tuition in order to continue receiving Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Dozens of states already offer in-state tuition to returning vets.
Military veterans and business owners testified last week at a House Small Business Committee hearing about private-sector initiatives that assisted them in the launching of businesses, advocating that the federal government boost funding and support for public programs. The federal government should develop a program for entrepreneurs similar to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, suggested Navy veteran Wade Franklin, who received help from the IFA's VetFran program to open a UPS store franchise.
Measuring the impact of the Post-9/11 GI Bill has proven difficult, as no uniform method exists for tracking the success of student veterans, policy experts say. Also, many veterans' academic careers are interrupted by family or military obligations. "Veterans don't have a linear path to a degree," said Chris Cate, vice president of research for Student Veterans of America.