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Senator Hassan & Colleagues Reintroduce Bipartisan Legislation Prioritizing Veterans’ Employment and Education Program at the VA

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Marco Rubio (R-FL) reintroduced the bipartisan Veterans’ Education, Transition, and Opportunity Prioritization Plan (VET OPP) Act to prioritize veterans’ employment, transition, and education benefits at the VA.

“We must support veterans as they transition back into civilian life and into new jobs,” said Senator Hassan. “To do that, the VA must strengthen its efforts to ensure that veterans have access to all of the resources that are available to them after their service. This bipartisan legislation will strengthen the programs put in place to help veterans achieve success following their time in the military.”

Currently, the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) is responsible for all VA benefits provided to veterans outside of health care and cemetery services. While VBA is tasked with implementing many different programs related to veterans education and employment, the majority of staff and resources are dedicated to the administration of disability compensation and pension claims. This has resulted in a lack of attention on the administration of other critical VBA benefits, such as the Forever GI Bill, Veteran Readiness and Employment Services, Home Loan benefits, and VA’s portion of the Transition Assistance Program.

The VET OPP Act would address this issue by moving VA transition, education, and employment programs under a new, separate administration – the Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration. This fourth VA administration would be led by a new undersecretary.

Senator Hassan has led bipartisan efforts to strengthen support for veterans. Last fall, President Biden signed into law bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Hassan to strengthen the Solid Start program, which contacts every veteran three times by phone in the first year after they leave active duty service to check in and help connect them to VA programs and benefits. The year-end government funding bill that was signed into law included Senator Hassan’s bipartisan legislation that directs the VA to designate one week per year as “Buddy Check Week” to organize outreach events and educate veterans on how to conduct peer wellness checks. And last summer, the President signed into law Senator Hassan and colleagues’ historic, bipartisan military toxic exposure bill. The President also previously signed into law Senator Hassan and colleagues’ Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act of 2021 to direct the VA to create a program to recruit military medical personnel who have less than one year left in their service to work in federal health care occupations at the VA.