Today, the House of Representatives reaffirmed its commitment to America's veterans by passing H.R. 3670, a bill to require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), a law designed to help deployed National Guard and Reserve members return to their civilian jobs after a separation from military service. The House also passed the Servicemember Family Protection Act (H.R. 4201).
H.R. 3670, introduced by Rep. Tim Walz, ensures that TSA hiring practices comply with USERRA. Although TSA currently employs thousands of veterans, including members of the National Guard and Reserves, they are not protected by USERRA. National Guard and Reserve members face greater unemployment rates than their civilian counterparts. Enforcement of USERRA within TSA will conform to the standards applied throughout the rest of the federal government.
"The unemployment rate among our servicemembers is already far too high. Protecting the jobs they already have should be a top priority and I'm pleased the House took action on this common sense bill today," said Rep. Walz, a 24-year veteran of the National Guard. "We have USERRA protections in place for a reason and this bill simply ensures that the thousands of veterans, Reservists, and members of the National Guard working for TSA are protected as they would be in any other position."
The Servicemember Family Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Turner, amends the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), and would ensure a servicemember's deployment, or possible deployment, cannot be used as a factor in child custody determinations. SCRA is intended to relieve servicemembers of certain civil and financial obligations if military service prevents their obligation from being discharged.
"With every deployment, our men and women in uniform live with the constant fear that their custody rights as parents could be in jeopardy due to their service," said Rep. Turner. "This legislation would ensure that being deployed, or the possibility of deployment is not used against them when child custody decisions are made by the courts."
Both pieces of legislation now head to the Senate for consideration. They join the ten previously House-passed bills that are pending in the Senate from the first session of the 112th Congress.
"Over the past year and a half, America's veterans, their families, and survivors, has been where Republicans and Democrats have found common ground to pass meaningful legislation, which has included putting America's veterans back to work through the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011," stated Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "With only six months left this Congress, I hope we can continue to work together and clear the backlog of legislation pending in the Senate before the end of this session. Our veterans deserve nothing less."