VFW to testify before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. will testify before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs tomorrow morning to discuss long-overdue legislation to help veterans find jobs.  


The hearing will take place at 10 a.m. in the committee chambers, room 334 of the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Live video will be available on the committee’s website, veterans.house.gov, during the hearing, and a full list of witnesses along with their prepared remarks will also be available tomorrow morning.  


Ryan Gallucci, an Iraq veteran and deputy director of the VFW National Legislative Service, will appear before the committee to present VFW’s view on two comprehensive job bills currently under consideration — the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011 and the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 — each of which propose new programs to help unemployed veterans receive job skills to remain competitive, and includes new auditing and reporting requirements for ongoing programs to help ensure their success.  


“The VFW believes that the new benefits programs established by both bills will help different sectors of unemployed veterans find viable work,” said Gallucci in his prepared remarks. “The VFW stands ready to assist in accomplishing these improvements," he said, "but we must reiterate that unemployed veterans needed a comprehensive veterans’ employment package yesterday, which is why we urge Congress to move quickly to pass these necessary programs and reforms.” 


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that more than 13 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans were unemployed in the month of June — a figure far eclipsing the civilian rate of unemployment for the same age group, and a spike of more than 3 percent since April.  


The VFW has made veterans’ employment assistance a top priority since passing a resolution at the 2009 national convention, calling on Congress to expand veterans’ employment initiatives and persistently monitor ongoing programs for effectiveness. Today, the VFW continues to leverage the voices of more than 2 million members across the country to convey the urgency of this persistent problem to leaders in Washington.  


The VFW supports most initiatives included in each bill and will call for swift passage of either or both bills, or a comprehensive piece of legislation that includes the best provisions of each, such as making attendance mandatory at Transition Assistance Program classes, and to ease military-to-civilian licensing and credentialing procedures and requirements. 


In June testimony before the Senate, the VFW called for swift action on similar bills to help veterans reenter the workforce, such as the companion Hiring Heroes Act, which was introduced by Senate VA Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA).  


The VFW will continue to advocate for reforms to help veterans find viable careers during difficult economic times. Keep track of VFW’s work by subscribing to the Washington Weekly e-newsletter, available through VFW national website at www.vfw.org.