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Mr. WALZ of Minnesota. I would like to thank the ranking member of Veterans' Affairs. I have had no greater friend since his time here, and we are grateful for the work he has done.
To Mr. Bilirakis and the entire committee for what has been said by several of my colleagues, it's fitting and appropriate today that we are passing legislation to serve those who have served us. It also is fitting and appropriate that we conduct ourselves in a manner fitting of their service.
This committee is one, as Mr. Michaud said and so many others have said. We are proud of the work we do together. This is just another example.
I would like to comment just briefly on section 2 of this that my good friend and friend of veterans from Ohio (Mr. Stivers) has been an absolute, outspoken, untiring advocate of to make sure that we employ these veterans when they come home. Last month, President Obama signed in another bill of ours, the Veteran Skills to Jobs Act, that is now the law of the land, making it easier to credential our veterans when they come back.
This Nation spends $140 billion training our veterans. These are our best and brightest and most dedicated. When they come back home, they're not victims, but we certainly know there are barriers to employment that we should not be putting up in front of them.
If they've driven that truck and served this Nation in Afghanistan, why should we have to repay to get a CDL license? If they've saved their colleagues on the battlefield and passed the credentialing to be a medic, why can't they ride in an ambulance at the Mayo Clinic in my district? And this bill takes it to the next level and sets that credentialing in coordination between the Federal and State to make sure when our veterans return home that we're not putting barriers in front of them, and to be quite honest, that we're not spending precious resources, whether it's giving them unemployment insurance or retraining them through redundant trainings.
In my office, my veterans staffer was the SHAPE commander's Black Hawk pilot in Europe. And he was the top trainer in the military. If he came back out, civilian-wise, he would have to go to a 48-month course to able to get through some of these things. That makes no sense, and it's putting our veterans at a disadvantage.
So I want to thank Mr. Stivers for making this possible. The transition can be there. I also want to thank our States that have been so willing to work with us. There are eight States that have already implemented this proposal. It will make it easier. It's the right thing to do for our veterans. It will give employers great dependable employees, and it will make sure these veterans do what we know is best for their mental health, for their family, and for this country--get back to work and start doing the things that they want to do.
With that, I thank everyone involved for this great bill. I encourage my colleagues to support H.R. 4057.
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