Vets legislation pushed by Walz passes House and Senate

WASHINGTON – As the election has drawn nearer and nearer, there have been more show votes and less lawmaking on Capitol Hill. But one measure that is headed to President Obama’s desk this week pushed by DFL U.S. Rep. Tim Walz attempts to ease the transition from military to civilian life.

Veterans returning home from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have faced high unemployment. The most recent figures from the Labor Department peg the unemployment rate for young veterans at 9.5 percent, above the national 8.2 percent rate.

The Veteran Skills to Jobs Act introduced by Walz and California Republican Jeff Denham was approved by the House on Monday and received Senate approval on Wednesday.

The legislation ensures that vets don’t have to acquire costly statefederally-mandated professional certifications for jobs they already learned how to do while serving in the military. Walz mentioned emergency medical technicians and many technical fields as areas affected by the legislation.

“We spend $140 billion a year training soldiers,” said Walz. “Let’s capitalize on that investment by making sure we don’t send them back to school on the GI Bill and spend more money when they’re already qualified for those jobs.”

A companion bill introduced by Walz and Republican Steve Stivers of Ohio that would affect state-mandated certifications for nurses, nursing assistants, EMTs and commercial drivers received approval from the House Veterans Affairs Committee Wednesday.

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