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Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. CAPPS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 5 minutes.

Mr. Speaker, our military men and women are trained to perform at the highest levels in a host of jobs. The individuals who serve our Nation in uniform do so with distinction.

However, there is much more to be done to help our service men and women and their families when they return home to translate those skills and experiences into civilian service. That disconnect is what we are trying to address here today.

Our military men and women receive some of the best technical training in emergency medicine, and every day, on the battlefield, they prove their skills under the very toughest of conditions. However, when they return home, experienced military medics are often required to start over. They must begin at entry-level curricula to receive certification for civilian jobs.

Similarly, military medics with civilian credentials often must let their civilian certifications lapse while they're defending our country. Either way, this keeps our veterans out of the civilian workforce and withholds valuable medical personnel from our communities.

As a nurse, I know the importance of having qualified and capable first responders in each of our communities, and that is why we must do all we can to break down the artificial barriers that obstruct our military medics from civilian opportunities.

So I am pleased to have joined Congressman Kinzinger to introduce H.R. 4124, which is the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act. This bill is a straightforward, bipartisan approach to help States streamline their certification processes to take military medic training into account for civilian licensure.

It's a small but very important step towards breaking down the barriers that our servicemembers face when transitioning home.

While the bill directs States to undertake these demonstration projects, I believe public and private organizations within the States, like area health education centers, or AHECs, will be important partners in the successful implementation of this initiative. This will help engage and leverage expertise already in our States and communities so that we can do our best by our veterans.

I also want to take a moment to thank the leadership of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Chairman Upton, Ranking Member Waxman, Chairman Pitts, and Ranking Member Pallone for their dedication to this bill and to the staff for working in a bipartisan manner to bring this to the floor.

Finally, I want to take a second to recognize a former congresswoman, Jane Harman, who spearheaded this issue in the last Congress.

I urge my colleagues' support for this legislation, and I look forward to swift consideration of it in the Senate.

At this point, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mrs. CAPPS. In closing, Mr. Speaker, I also wish to thank my colleague, Mr. Kinzinger, for his leadership and his experience in the military, which led him to be very interested in this topic as well.

The Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act is a small but very important step toward helping our military medics transition to civilian EMT service, and it is a bipartisan measure. It fills a need both in the veterans' community and also in our health care communities.

I urge full support for this bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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