Today, the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs favorably reported five pieces of legislation with bipartisan support (H.R. 4072, as amended; H.R. 4114; H.R. 4201; H.R. 4482; and H.R. 3670) for full House consideration.
H.R. 4072, as amended, the Consolidated Veteran Employment Services for Improved Performance Act of 2012, would move the Department of Labor's (DOL) Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to bring together all veteran employment programs under one roof to provide greater access to programs and services for veterans. Since, 1997, the VETS program has been criticized by GAO as being ineffective within DOL. The move constitutes one of the largest federal employee and program transfers from one department to another in recent years.
"For decades, as part of DOL, the VETS program has not been as effective as it should be and it is time to try a different approach," stated Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "This legislation represents our best chance to get this important program functioning again in order to get our veterans out of the unemployment lines and back into the workforce."
"Our goal as a nation is to provide those who serve with the opportunity to achieve the American Dream--to find not just jobs, but careers that they can be proud of. Careers that give them the opportunity to utilize their skills, support their families, and have passion for their work," stated Rep. Tim Walz.
"Outcomes do matter, and we need to think of new and creative ways to better serve our veterans to ensure they're finding these careers. We are leaning forward on this issue and we are setting a model that streamlines government services and protects veterans at the same time."
Support for the legislation includes the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
Also included in the legislation headed to the House floor is an annual Veterans' Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA), H.R. 4114, introduced by Rep. Jon Runyan; the Servicemember Family Protection Act, H.R. 4201, introduced by Rep. Mike Turner, to protect deployed servicemembers in child custody suits; and a bill to require TSA to comply with USERRA regulations, H.R. 3670, introduced by Rep. Tim Walz.
"This Committee is committed producing results to ensuring VA's programs and services are the best they can be," Miller said. "Once again, we have found bipartisan consensus to pass commonsense legislation to better the lives of America's veterans."