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North Florida Congressmen's Proposal Helping Veterans Transition to Civilian Workforce Reaches House Floor

May 11, 2019 - 7:45am
John Rutherford and Al Lawson
John Rutherford and Al Lawson

A proposal from four North Florida congressmen to help veterans transition out of the military and into the civilian sector is gaining steam on Capitol Hill and headed to the House floor. 

In recent days, U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., got his “Veterans Armed for Success Act” which would create a grant matching program for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to support organizations that help veterans enter the private sector through job training programs included into a proposal from U.S. Rep. Mike Levin, D-Calif., helping veterans transition into the workforce.

Back in October 2017, Rutherford and U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla. first brought out the bill. While the bill cleared the House, it failed to pass the Senate.  The two North Florida congressmen brought it back in March with U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., on board. Other backers include U.S. Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn. 

Rutherford noted on Thursday that Levin’s bill cleared the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee and is now headed to the House floor. The Jacksonville Republican offered a tip of the cap to U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., the chairman of the committee, and U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the top Republican on it. 

“Thank you to Chairman Takano and Ranking Member Roe for acknowledging the real challenges veterans face after their service is complete,” said Rutherford. “By sending the Veterans Armed for Success Act to the House floor for a full vote, Congress is one step closer to reducing the obstacles in our veterans’ transition from warfighter to civilian.”

“When our servicemembers return home, it is critical for them to have access to resources that will make for an easier transition,” Lawson said when the bill was brought out. “The Veterans Armed for Success Act equips local organizations with the support they need to train our veterans from serving to a professional career. I will continue doing all that I can to guarantee that veterans receive access to the resources and opportunities they rightfully deserve.”

“Our veterans answered the call to defend our nation and protect the liberties and freedoms we enjoy every day,” said Yoho when he cosponsored the bill. “When their service is complete, it is essential that their country give them every tool to transition back into civilian life successfully. The Veterans Armed for Success Act focuses on transition assistance for all veterans providing them with the training they need to be successful in the workforce. I am happy to join Rep. Rutherford along with other members of Congress in support of this vital bill to help our veterans.”

“As a combat veteran and Green Beret, I know how hard service men and women train and prepare for our jobs on the battlefield,” Waltz said when he first backed the bill. “It is also essential for us to train and prepare for our transition into civilian life, but we often need resources and guidance to do so. Our country and our communities are better when our veterans find stable, meaningful employment to support themselves and their families. I’m proud the Veterans Armed for Success Act will provide VA grants to local organizations supporting our heroes’ transitions.”

While the bill is now headed to the full House,  so far, there is no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate.

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