Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Veterans Affairs Roundtable Addresses Employment Issues

ROA was invited to a roundtable on Veterans Affairs issues hosted by Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-Fla.). ROA Executive Director MG David Bockel represented ROA at the meeting, addressing issues on veteran unemployment.

ROA - Outline of Specific Employment Issues Discussed

Attending groups were divided into seven tables with each addressing a different veteran issue. A Veteran Affairs committee member was also seated at each table. Rep. Marlin Stuzman (R-Ind.), chairman of the VA economic opportunity subcommittee, facilitated the discussion on veteran’s unemployment, with notes being taken on the suggestions being made. ROA pointed out that unemployment remains a problem for members of the Guard and Reserve returning from deployment, that Reserve Component affiliation doesn’t help an individual seeking employment, and that ROA’s Service Members Law Center get about 4800 calls a year on employment and reemployment problems.

Majority Whip McCarthy talked not only about the importance veterans play but also described a back room in his office which survived the burning of the Capitol in 1812 and includes a mural of the military regiment that one of the first House clerks served in. Chairman Miller talked about the work the Veteran Affairs committee is doing and addressed a number of unresolved issues. Besides unemployment, he talked about the need to fix VA claims processing, improvement of electronic medical records, mental health challenges, and ensuring an adequate Veterans budget.

To round-out the meeting, veteran and military group representatives got to hear from Majority Leader Eric Canton (R-Va.) and Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.).

The meeting ended with a promise that this was the first of many meetings between military and veteran groups and the House Veteran Affairs committee leadership.

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