The U.S. House of Representatives passed several bills today dealing with veteran issues. Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson supported legislation that will increase employment opportunities for veterans and legislation that will honor former National Guard and Reserve members as United States veterans.
The Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011, which would create or modify programs that provide employment and training services to veterans and service members separating from active duty. The bill will provide up to 12 months of Veterans Retraining Assistance to unemployed veterans who enter education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools to prepare them for employment in an occupational field that is determined by Department of Labor (DOL) to have significant employment opportunities.
"The latest job figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that too many veterans are unemployed, and the overall veteran unemployment rate continues to rise faster than the national unemployment rate," said Simpson. "This legislation helps provide veterans with the opportunity to secure competitive employment in this difficult economic climate."
Simpson also supported legislation to recognize the veteran status to certain retired National Guard and Reserve service members. Individuals who served at least 20 years in the reserves, are under age 60, and were never called to active duty would be eligible for this honorary status.
"Service members of the National Guard and Reserve perform a crucial role supporting our active duty component by responding in times of national emergency and standing ready to deploy in times of need," said Simpson. "In recent years the need has been great, and the National Guard and Reserve have provided trained units that are equipped and ready to defend the United States. Each of these men and women deserve the recognition for their commitment and contribution to the defense of our nation."