Today, the White House is announcing steps to help veterans find work. This is an important objective. That’s why the House has already acted to lend a hand to the men and women who served as they return to civilian life. Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed, by a bipartisan vote of 418-6, the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act (VOW Act), which is now awaiting action in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Specifically, the VOW Act:
- Improves Access to Education and Training Funds: The VOW Act temporarily provides 100,000 unemployed veterans between the age of 35 and 60 with up to 1-year of education and training benefits related to gaining a job in high-demand occupations, from trucking to technology.
- Makes Improvements to the Transition Assistance Program: The Transition Assistance Program is designed to help veterans find meaningful employment after discharge through a series of career training workshops. The VOW Act will make TAP mandatory for most service members transitioning to civilian status, upgrading career counseling options, and resume writing skills, as well as ensuring the program is tailored for the 21st Century job market.
- Includes Reporting Requirements to Reform Employment Programs: Few evaluations have been conducted or completed to identify areas for improvement within existing veterans employment programs. The VOW Act includes several new reporting requirements to evaluate how to reform the programs to provide transitioning service members with greater employment opportunities.
- Helps Break Down the Barriers to Employment: The VOW Act would also encourages Congress to work with governors and states to create a uniform licensing and credentialing standard for returning service members to use the skills they learned in the military in the private sector. Combat medics, aircraft technicians, and truck drivers all face lengthy reaccreditation when they return from the battlefield to do the jobs here they performed while deployed.
The White House’s veterans initiative is part of their ongoing effort to cast blame on Republicans for the poor economy. But, with the VOW Act awaiting action in the Senate, it rings hollow to suggest they are waiting on Republicans to help America’s veterans. Rather, this legislation serves as a great example of a situation where Republicans “can’t wait” for Democrats in the Senate to take up one of the many House-passed jobs bills. And it’s another reminder that there is common ground to be found between the two parties – we just need Washington Democrats to stop playing political games and, instead, work with Republicans in the best interests of the American people.