Cramer Votes to Support Military Veterans with Improved Services
Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer voted in favor of three bills to support military veterans with improved services, and a fourth bill awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to a World War II service unit.
The Improving Job Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2013 will add resources to existing on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs for veterans which help them make the transition to civilian life. The bill increases the incentive for employers to participate, expands opportunities for veteran employment in the federal government, and requires the launch of a public information campaign to increase awareness of the program. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in April for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans was 7.5 percent. The rate for all veterans between ages 20 and 24 was 19 percent.
“Our veterans have already given us the most noble sacrifice. Providing them with the best possible path to employment is both a privilege and a duty,” said Cramer. “This legislation builds on the strength of existing job training programs to serve more veterans, and recognizes the role federal agencies should play in this process by requiring them to participate.”
The Helping Heroes Fly Act will make air travel easier for severely disabled veterans by directing the Department of Homeland Security to address inconsistencies in the Wounded Warrior Screening Program operated by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). The program was created in 2005 as a response to well-documented difficulties imposed on wounded veterans by the increasing rigors of airport security. The number of veterans using the Wounded Warrior Screening Program is increasing, with approximately 4,252 in 2011, 5,914 in 2012, and 3,315 as of February 2013.
Prior to his time in Congress, Cramer served as Chairman of the Roughrider Honor Flight Committee. Hundreds of North Dakota World War II veterans were flown to Washington, D.C. at no personal expense to experience the memorials built in their honor.
“I have seen firsthand how the ability to travel by airplane is uplifting for our veterans who suffer from mobility issues, but it can also be difficult without the right care and assistance. Whether they hope to see the World War II memorial, or their loved ones, we need to make their boarding and screening process simple and without undue hardship,” Cramer added.
Cramer additionally cosponsored and voted for H.R. 324, which grants the Congressional Gold Medal to the First Special Service Force, a joint American-Canadian volunteer unit, in recognition of their service in World War II, as well as the American Heroes COLA Act, which will require veterans’ disability compensation to receive the same cost-of-living adjustments given to Social Security payments.
“There is no question disabled veterans should be given additional support as their living expenses continue to increase. We need to make this a priority by ensuring the bill is signed into law,” said Cramer.