Today, Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, issued the following statement on the President's announcement calling on Congress to act on the Veterans Job Corps:
"The ink is not yet dry on the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 that the President signed last fall, and now he already wants to spend another $1 billion on a Veterans Job Corps, without any way to pay for it. Both the House and Senate have expressed serious reservations about this proposal, a proposal which Congress has yet to receive any meaningful details.
"It would instead be helpful for the President to use his bully pulpit to promote the various provisions in the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill to reduce veteran unemployment. The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), the cornerstone of the Act, which originated in the House of Representatives, began accepting applications from unemployed veterans, ages 35-60, on May 15. This provision will provide nearly 100,000 veterans the opportunity to retrain for a high-demand career. That is the type of solutions we need to be focused on--long-term employment, not short-term rhetoric.
"Furthermore, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act also asks the states to review licensing and credentialing laws in order to help servicemembers transition from their positions in the military to the civilian sector. This is critically important because state regulations and laws are some of the most common impediments to veterans applying for open positions using the skills they learned in the military. Bottom line, the President's Task Force is not a new idea. It is already law, one he signed just six months ago.
"In today's economy, the point is to create jobs, not the illusion of jobs, which is exactly what this proposal does. While I applaud the President's creativity in creating a "to-do' list for Congress, the House has been solely focused on creating jobs for our veterans, and all Americans. Perhaps a better "to-do' list for the President would be to urge the Senate to take action on the 12 House-passed veterans' bills they are sitting on."