On Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved Tim Walz’s (D-MN-01) Veterans Jobs bill as he explained :
Our responsibility to our veterans is our Nation’s highest moral responsibility. After years of war, we have millions of returning veterans who deserve our respect and support. This piece of legislation helps us keep a promise to those brave warriors. As you heard from my colleagues, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act was passed by this Congress–a smart piece of legislation–in 1994. It simply says if you serve this Nation in uniform, you will not be disadvantaged in your civilian-sector job; you will have prompt reemployment when that service is done; and you will not be discriminated against because of current or past military service. It’s keeping that commitment that if you put your life on the line, you put your health on the line, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your career progression against your peers just because you were willing to serve this Nation.
Minnesota’s First District Congressman earned a little praise from both sides of the aisle :
Peter King (R-NY-03) : I just want to say with reference to my friend from Minnesota, he has dedicated a life of service to his country in the military, and he’s continuing that outstanding service here in the United States Congress.
Shelia Jackson-Lee (D-TX-18) : Let me thank the author of the bill, the gentleman from Minnesota, for his leadership–he is always speaking eloquently but fighting for our veterans, and we thank you very much both for your service and your leadership
That type of bi-partisan support that Congressman Walz will need as he is now pushing H.R. 4155 Veterans Skills to Jobs Act, … this time with Representative Jeff Denham (R-CA-19). (FYI : The companion bill in the Senate is S. 2239 where Amy Klobuchar is one of the early co-sponsors)
The American Legion offers this analysis :
The Veteran Skills to Jobs Act helps address the unacceptably high rate of veteran unemployment by directing the head of each federal department and agency to treat relevant military training as sufficient to satisfy training or certification requirements for federal license, so that veterans can get back to work quickly.
The Department of Defense provides some of the best vocational training in the nation for its military personnel. There are many occupational career fields in the armed forces that can easily translate to a civilian counterpart; additionally, there are many occupations in the civilian workforce that require a license or certification.
Upon separation, however, many service members, certified as proficient in their military occupational career, are not licensed or certified to perform the comparable job in the civilian workforce, thus hindering chances for immediate civilian employment and delaying career advancement. This situation creates an artificial barrier to employment upon separation from military service.
Congress and the nation have a compelling interest in fostering the employment of veterans. An expanded credentialing program has widespread support on Capitol Hill and from many top defense officials. It marks a major cultural shift for the military, which once held the view that making it easier for troops to get out would reduce retention and hurt the military. The federal government is uniquely situated and obligated to take the lead on this, not only to overcome old attitudes, but to set an example for state and local government agencies which grant occupational licenses and set certain professional standards.
With today’s penchant for “gotcha votes” to be used as campaign talking points, Representatives Walz and Denham need strong bi-partisan support for their legislation. As of today, only thirteen have signed on :
Dan Benishek (R-MI-01)
Madeleine Bordallo (Delegate Guam)
Andre Carson (D-IN-07)
John Carter (R-TX-31)
Mike Coffman (R-CO-06)
Bob Gibbs (R-OH-18)
Bill Johnson (R-OH-06)
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-14)
Michael Michaud (D-ME-02)
Gary Miller (R-CA-42)
Richard Nugent (R-FL-05)
Charles Rangel (D-NY-15)
Steven Rothman (D-NJ-09)
This is a good list to start … but more are needed.
Minnesotans need to contact their Representatives and ask why they have not signed on yet … shockingly, John Kline (R-MN-02), Raymond Cravaack (R-MN-08) and Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) have all held Jobs Fairs … yet, this “commonsense” legislation does not have their expressed support (yet).
SIDE COMMENT : Voters will soon here about Washington Walz and that “his voting record is in lock step with far-left Washington liberals like Nancy Pelosi” yet, from the STOCK Act to his emphasis on jobs, Tim Walz seems to be able to attract broad support to accomplish things despite the highly partisan times.