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Westerman: “America Must Always Take Care of Those Who Defend Our Freedom”

February 13, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) released the following statement Monday (February 13) upon passage of the BRAVE Act, the HIRE Vets Act, and the WINGMAN Act:

“The men and women who serve our nation in uniform make incredible sacrifices in defense of freedom,” Westerman said. “We must honor their courage and commitment to our country by taking care of them. On Monday, the House of Representatives passed a series of bills that would prioritize the hiring of veterans and streamline casework. America must always take care of those who defend our freedom and that is why I was glad to cast my vote for these bills.”

A description of each bill, according to the House Republican Conference:

  • H.R. 244, HIRE Vets Act: “… would require the Department of Labor (DOL) to establish the HIRE Vets Medallion Program, within one year of enactment, to annually recognize businesses for their efforts to employ veterans. DOL would make awards to employers, on a voluntary basis, who recruit, employ, and retain veterans; and provide community and charitable services supporting the veteran community. Employers would earn either platinum or gold status based on requirements related to the number of veterans hired each year, if they provide pay equity for Guardsmen and Reserve employees who were called up to active military service, and if certain other requirements are met.”
  • H.R. 512, the WINGMAN Act: “… would enable congressional staff, which would include staff sometimes referred to as ‘caseworkers,’ to have ‘read only’ access to veterans’ records in the databases of the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), if the veteran provides permission to the Congressional office to allow their records to be accessed. This would enable staff, who are already certified to access these records, to bypass the step of having to use the VA as a intermediator to receive them.”
  • H.R. 974, the BRAVE Act: “… would allow the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, when awarding procurement contracts for good or services, to give preference to government contractors that employ veterans on a full-time basis.”