IAVA's statement on the Senate's failure to pass critical jobs legislation
Posted by Paul Rieckhoff on September 20
IAVA released the following statement in response to the Senate’s failure to pass the Veterans Job Corps Act (VJC) – which would help put thousands of young veterans back to work. With Congress now shutting down to campaign, no employment legislation will pass until after the election. And with the unemployment rate officially at 10.9%, veterans across the country are left treading water while Congress blocks legislation with procedural tricks.
CORRECTION: Our statement incorrectly listed Senators Burr, Boozman, Heller and Toomey as authors of the aforementioned legislation. We apologize for this error. The original Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012 was authored by Senator Nelson and introduced in July of 2012. Last week, the Senate voted on an amendment to that original bill, which was authored by Senator Murray. Senator Murray's amendment included elements from Senators Boozman, Burr, Hagan, Heller, Johanns, Murray, Nelson, Pryor and Toomey.
“This Congress let partisan bickering stand in the way of putting thousands of America’s heroes back to work. Lowering veteran unemployment is something both parties should be able to agree on – even in an election year,” said IAVA Founder and Chief Executive Officer Paul Rieckhoff. “Election politics should never stand in the way of creating job opportunities for our nation’s veterans, especially with an official 10.9% unemployment rate. We hope constituents, veterans and their families across the country will hold the Senate accountable for this failure.”
“The blockage of the Veterans Job Corps Act, a bipartisan effort authored by Senators Murray, Burr, Boozman, Heller and Toomey, should outrage all Americans. This bill was smart bipartisan policy that would put veterans back into service for their communities as policemen, firefighters and first responders. The result of today’s vote creates tremendous doubt that this Congress will be able to pass any additional veterans legislation in 2012. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans should not have to wait until 2013 for critical support from Congress.”
In addition to creating jobs for veterans as police officers, firefighters, first responders, and restorative conservationists, the Veterans Job Corps Act would have also extended the critical Transition Assistance Program (TAP). TAP provides employment, education and entrepreneurship advice for troops separating from the service, and to veterans and their spouses after they’ve left the military. The VJC would also require states to consider military training and experience in granting credentials and licensure for EMTs, nursing assistants and commercial driver’s licenses.
Click here for the full vote roll call.
IAVA’s work has helped hundreds of veterans get back to work and find unemployment support after their service. Innovative employment programs with companies ranging from jcpenney to McKinsey to PIMCO are making a significant impact and establishing a model for replication. For more recommendations on how to tackle veteran unemployment across the public and private sectors, read IAVA’s Policy Agenda here.
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