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Improving Veterans' Opportunity In Education And Business Act Of 2008

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute. I want to thank Mr. Boozman, and he included parts of a bill from Ms. Herseth Sandlin and from Mr. Welch from Vermont, another new Member who has been a great participant in our deliberations.

I would like to thank my distinguished colleague, Ranking Member John Boozman in the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, for his bipartisan efforts in crafting H.R. 6221, as amended, Improving Veterans' Opportunities in Education and Business Act.

I also want to thank Subcommittee Chairwoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Congressman Peter Welch for introducing language included in this important legislation.

Many of our veterans today are currently transitioning into the workforce or continuing their studies in higher education.

Some of our disabled veterans own small businesses, while others are receiving training to pursue other careers. Our veterans deserve to receive the necessary resources to succeed in life after the military. We must work together to ensure that our Nation's heroes are equipped and provided the training they need for their future careers.

H.R. 6221 would clarify a provision in current law that was intended to assist veterans in the Federal procurement process. This provision has been interpreted by the VA General Counsel that it does not apply to agents acting on behalf of the VA. H.R. 6221 would clarify congressional intent and require any entity that purchases goods and services on behalf of the VA to comply with the contracting goals and preferences for small businesses owned or controlled by veterans.

Language introduced by Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota would authorize $10 million for VA to conduct a 5-year pilot program to expand the veterans' campus work study program.

Eligible work-study may include positions in academic departments and student services, such as jobs in tutoring, research, career services, and campus orientation.

Language was introduced by Representative Peter Welch of Vermont to authorize $60 million for the next 10 years to fund the Service Members' Occupational Conversion and Training Act, commonly called SMOCTA.

SMOCTA is a successful training program that was instituted in the early 1990's and targeted to servicemembers leaving military service with few or no job skills to transition to the civilian marketplace.

The program assists veterans in obtaining meaningful employment after their military service and is a timely program that would greatly assist today's returning veterans.

Mr. Speaker, we must honor our men and women who dutifully serve our Nation.

We must serve our disabled veteran small business owners and students with opportunities to succeed, and fund successful programs that develop job skills needed in today's workforce. Our servicemembers deserve the proper training and provisions that ensure a seamless transition into civilian life.

I urge all my colleagues to join me in support of H.R. 6221, as amended.

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