WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, during a joint hearing, the members of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs heard testimony from The American Legion on its 2012 legislative priorities—priorities that focus on ending unemployment for America's veterans.
"The jobless issue facing our veterans is critical. We have a goal at the Committee to reduce veterans' unemployment to less than 5% over the next two years," stated Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "This goal is achievable through the creation of opportunities in the private sector, enacting pro-growth policies, and producing meaningful legislation, such as the VOW Act, to create the most qualified veteran workforce since World War II.
The American Legion's National Commander, Fang A. Wong, detailed the Legion's goals for the coming year, which include better support for female veterans, reducing the disability claims backlog, and addressing veteran homelessness and unemployment.
"According to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in June, there were over 1 million veterans unemployed, and more than 632,000 of them between the ages of 35 and 60. These figures address a challenge that defies simple solutions," Wong said. "If a solution is to be found, it will require cooperation on multiple levels. The American Legion will always be at the forefront fighting for improvements to veteran employment."
Both Committees have pending legislation to assist veterans who are out of work. A fundamental pillar of both bills (H.R. 2433 and S. 951) is strengthening the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) to ease the transition to civilian status for separating servicemembers, while ensuring the program's effectiveness in the 21st Century job market.
"I look forward to discussing the VOW Act with Senator Murray in the coming weeks in a bipartisan manner to send to the President comprehensive legislation by Veterans Day," Miller said. "I thank The American Legion for being a partner to our Committees and most important, for each Legionnaire's continued service to our nation."
The VOW Act (H.R. 2433) is expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives in early October.
@HouseVetAffairs & @AmericanLegion focus on #jobs4vets during annual legislative hearing with the Senate.
@HouseVetAffairs & @AmericanLegion agree that #jobs4vets are dependent on the private sector.
#Vets4jobs a top priority for @HouseVetAffairs & @American Legion. Will be an all hands on deck effort.
Help bring #vet unemployment to less than 5%. Learn more about the #VOWAct at veterans.house.gov/jobs.
Photos from the hearing can be found here.
For more news from the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, please visit:Veterans.House.Gov
Sean P Eagan
Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans