Contact: Josh Holly (202) 225-2539
Washington, D.C. --- Today, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation authored by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) which expressed the sense of the House that employers should hire wounded and injured U.S. servicemembers as they transition to civilian life.
In his remarks on the House Floor, Chairman Hunter stated the following:
“Members of this House of Representatives spend a considerable amount of time each year making recommendations and decisions that directly and indirectly impact the lives of the men and women of the Armed Forces who serve this nation so well.
“With the Global War on Terrorism, House members have taken numerous actions as part of the annual defense authorization and defense appropriations acts to ensure that those fine men and women have the full range of resources they need to be successful in combat. And for those who are wounded and injured—and there have been more than 22,900 during this war—our colleagues have moved quickly and effectively to change laws and provide additional resources to improve the health care system.
“For as much as we in the House have done to support the men and women of the Armed Forces, I believe that more should be done, especially for those who have been wounded in defense of this nation, and who, as a result of their wounds, are leaving the service.
“That’s the purpose of my resolution today: To explicitly state that it is the sense of the House of Representatives that Members of the House should actively engage with employers and the American public at large to encourage the hiring of members and former members of the Armed Forces who were wounded in service and are facing a transition to civilian life.
“Beyond the fact that getting involved is the right thing for Members to do, Members need to get more directly involved in helping wounded service members transition to civilian life because young veterans—those aged 20 through 24—are experiencing a jobless rate three times the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics.
“We have all seen too many Vietnam-era homeless veterans in our districts—a reflection that the nation then did not fully step up to doing what was necessary for those who served the nation. We must not repeat the same mistake.
“As I began two years ago to work this issue of finding ways to help soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines transition to civilian life, concerns were raised to me that such activity by a Member might conflict with the rules of conduct in the House. I have worked with both the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and House Administration, as well as Rep. Ike Skelton, to shape this resolution. Thus, the resolution explicitly states that in encouraging potential employees and the American public to hire veterans Members should act in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Committee on Standards and by House Administration.
“Mr. Speaker, there are any number of federal, state and local organizations, and many private entities working to employ wounded service members and former service members. I believe that it’s time for House Members to get engaged in this effort.”