Welcomes VA Action on Job Training
WASHINGTON, March 5 – Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today pledged to continue fighting for passage of a comprehensive veterans bill that includes a provision to extend a successful job-training program due to expire at the end of March.
In a short-term reprieve, the White House today announced a three-month extension of the program so veterans already enrolled in classes can complete spring semester courses.
“This is a step in the right direction,” Sanders said, “but Congress has an opportunity to do even more by passing comprehensive legislation that would expand job training, health care and other programs.”
Sanders today chaired a joint Senate and House hearing to take testimony from leaders of the Veterans of Foreign Wars who voiced support for the overall bill and called specifically for extending the jobs program.
The Senate bill would reauthorize for two years the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, which has provided increased educational opportunities that lead to careers in high-demand professions. The initiative already has provided job training for more than 74,000 older veterans who are not eligible for assistance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The program offers up to 12 months of training assistance to unemployed veterans who are 35 to 60 years old. The legislation also would expand the program by allowing veterans to enroll in eligible programs at a four-year college if classes aren’t available at a community college or technical school.
Speaking at the joint hearing, Sanders renewed his commitment to overcome “partisan nonsense” and pass strong legislation for veterans that also is backed by the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and virtually every other veterans’ and military service organization in the country.
The measure also includes provisions to improve health and dental care services, allow the VA to open 27 new clinics and medical facilities, improve access to care and benefits for veterans who experienced sexual trauma while serving in the military and restore full cost-of-living adjustments for future military retirees.