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Public Statements

Veterans Opportunity to Work Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. WALBERG. This past Monday, we gathered together to honor America's fallen soldiers--the men and women who gave their lives sacrificially in exchange for our freedoms. Amid the Memorial Day parades and picnics, we reflected on their courage and their bravery to fight for these freedoms at any cost, including the ultimate cost.

We must never take for granted the privileges we enjoy because of their sacrifice, such as being able to worship where and how we want; that our media can share information without fear of censorship; and that we can freely vote for public officials without fear of punishment. Let us also remember the young men and women spread across the world who continue to fight for that freedom. To them, we also say thank you and pray for a safe and soon return.

But our commitment to the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces should not end when they return. Each year, thousands of new veterans return home, many to Michigan's Seventh District, still wearing the physical, mental, and emotional scars from their time in combat. I am fighting in Congress to make sure that veterans receive the highest-quality medical care that they have earned and deserve.

I also want to provide our Nation's heroes with the resources they need to settle back into civilian life, which is why I cosponsored the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act. Specifically, this legislative package, which became law last November, will smooth the transition for veterans from military service back into the job market through job counseling, training, and placement.

Too often, our troops return home, expecting to trade their fatigues and weapons for a suit or a hard hat, only to find out that the employment situation is a battlefield, to say the least, of a different kind. Millions of Americans are without work under the current administration's failed economic policies, with the unemployment numbers being considerably higher for veterans.

To me, there is no greater way to honor our Nation's servicemen and -women than by making sure they can get a job when they return. I've held a number of job fairs back in my district that have been tailored specifically to assisting veterans. At each and every event, experts are on hand to offer advice for how to effectively search for a job, write a resume and impress during an interview. Up to 50 vendors and local businesses, which would be honored to hire our Nation's heroes, attend these events.

Republicans have also put forth a plan for America's job creators built around small businesses, not Big Government. It includes reining in Federal regulations and out-of-control spending, which hold back small businesses; repealing the costly health care law; and tapping into the abundance of natural resources right in our own backyard. We are focused on long-term growth and not a short-term stimulus. Our veterans need jobs now and in the future.

Those who answer the call of duty from their country should not be overlooked when they return home. I remain committed to providing the best care and a strong economy for our Nation's heroes. It is the least we can do for those who have already given so much.

As always, may God bless and protect our troops and their families.

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