A package of bipartisan bills authored by Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01), dubbed the "Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity," has been approved by the US House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. The measures will help improve economic opportunities and job protections for America's military veterans.
The proposals were first advanced two weeks ago by the House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, where Braley is the highest ranking Democrat.
Braley's "Blueprint" will strengthen employment protections for veterans seeking medical treatment for service-related injuries, enhance protections from home foreclosures against veterans, and target deceptive marketing practices by some educational institutions by providing veterans with standard information about available higher education options.
"The "Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity' advanced by the Veterans' Affairs Committee today will strengthen protections for veterans' jobs, homes, and educational benefits," said Braley. "This is a step forward for America's returning veterans. I'm encouraged that these proposals attracted such strong bipartisan support. It shows what's possible when we put aside party labels and work together to do good for men and women who have sacrificed so much for us."
The bills were passed with the overwhelming bipartisan support of the Veterans' Affairs panel. Braley has worked closely with Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman (IN-03) for months on these and other legislative proposals to improve economic prospects for veterans. In October 2011, for example, Braley and Stutzman hosted a field hearing on reducing the unemployment rate among returning National Guard veterans in Waterloo, Iowa.
More detailed summaries of the components of Braley's "Blueprint for Veterans Opportunity" follow:
HR 5747, Military Family Home Protection Act. Includes Braley language that ensures opportunities for housing and employment by 1) expanding and improving protections from home foreclosures against military veterans and surviving spouses of servicemembers who died while serving our country; and 2) providing military and National Guard veterans up to 4 weeks of unpaid leave from their employer each calendar year for treatment for a service-related injury without fear of losing their jobs.
HR 4057, Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act. Includes Braley language that targets aggressive and deceptive marketing to service members and veterans by some educational institutions and provides veterans with standard information about post-secondary institutions to help vets make more informed choices about college.