Coffman statement on The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act
(Washington, DC) I am happy to see the extension of the Veterans Paralympic program, included in recently Senate-passed bill, which included my legislation, H.R. 1402, the Veteran’s Paralympic Act which had passed unanimously out of the House Economic Opportunity Subcommittee before being combined with other bills in one package that passed the House and was sent on to the Senate.
This program ensures that disabled veterans in local communities throughout the country continue to have opportunities for rehabilitation, stress relief and higher achievement through adaptive sports.
U.S. Olympic Committee’s Paralympics Chief Charlie Huebner testified at a hearing that “participation in sports and other athletic activities can help speed the rehabilitation process for disabled veteran.”
As a Marine Corps Combat veteran, I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Huebner and I personally understand the importance of rehabilitation opportunities for returning veterans.
Finally, although I fully support the passage of this extenders package, I am disappointed the substance of H.R. 1412 was not included in this bill.
H.R. 1412, the Improving Job Opportunities for Veterans Act seeks to will build on an existing, yet little known and under-utilized, on-the-job training programs that assist veterans by allowing them to use their educational benefits to learn a trade or skill by participation in an approved apprenticeship or on-the-job training program.
Employers in my district have expressed their desire to work with this program and hire more veterans because they know how valuable a veteran can be to their organization.
Additionally, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America has endorsed the legislation by saying “IAVA stands ready to support and promote innovative ideas like this to end the veterans’ unemployment crisis.”
It is my understanding that the original provisions of H.R. 1412 were dropped without prejudice, and that they will be part of an upcoming negotiation between the House and the Senate.
I look forward to seeing the substance of that legislation advance and I’ll be working with Chairman Miller to make sure that happens.
September 27, 2013