Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bipartisan veterans bills: H.R. 570, the American Heroes COLA Act and H.R. 1412, the Improving Job Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2013.
Introduced by Rep. Jon Runyan (NJ-03), The American Heroes COLA Act would make the annual increase to veterans' disability compensation rates and other benefits permanent by tying the increase to the cost of living adjustment for Social Security benefits.
Chairman Jeff Miller (FL-01) introduced a manager's amendment to H.R. 570 that would sunset the bill's round-down authority after five years while reinvesting savings associated with the bill in programs aimed at improving benefits for disabled veterans. Miller's amendment enjoys widespread support among veterans service organizations.
"This bipartisan legislation would significantly increase the special monthly compensation payments made to our most severely disabled veterans. These are veterans who are missing limbs, totally blind, deaf, or who are so disabled that they require the need of special care in the home, all as a result of military service. Clearly, it is our duty to ensure that these most deserving service-disabled veterans are well-cared for, and my amendment to H.R. 570 will be a significant step in that direction." -- Chairman Jeff Miller
"With the passage of the American Heroes COLA Act, veterans will never again have to depend on Congressional action to receive an increase to the cost of living adjustment they have more than earned through their service. Instead, these increases will become automatic from year to year." -- Rep. Jon Runyan
Introduced by Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06), the Improving Job Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2013, would build on an existing, yet little known and under-utilized, on-the-job training program that allows veterans to use educational benefits earned through their military service to learn a trade or skill by participation in an approved apprenticeship or on-the-job training program.
"As a Marine Corps combat veteran, I am well aware our veterans are hardworking, team-oriented quick learners who are capable of mastering highly technical skills that are prevalent in many industries. This legislation will help employers across the country connect with this great pool of available talent, in the process giving legions of returning heroes a better chance at landing a good job and achieving the American dream." -- Rep. Mike Coffman