Common-sense steps to help our veterans find work
We owe our freedom to the men and women who wear our nation’s uniform. When our brave men and women come home from serving overseas, they should be able to come home to a job—not the unemployment line. According to recently released statistics, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans seeking work fell over the past year, from 11.7 percent to 9.7 percent--but this is still well over the national average.
Over the summer, I met with a group of trucking company owners from Oregon, who told me they often struggled to find qualified drivers. Many veterans returning from overseas, they told me, had the skills needed to drive a rig, but faced red tape and bureaucratic barriers to getting their commercial driver’s license. It’s a story I hear all too often—businesses want to put out a “help wanted” sign, but unnecessary regulations get in the way.
On September 28, the House of Representatives unanimously passed—with my strong support—the Military Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012, which gives active duty military personnel, and members of the Guard and reserve, more flexibility in obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License. The bill was also passed by the Senate, and is now on the President’s desk, waiting to be signed into law.
"Our industry would definitely benefit from an influx of highly trained ex-military personnel," commented Oregon Trucking Association President Debra Dunn, "It's encouraging that the Senate and House found value in the concept and have made the effort to turn it into a great solution for everyone."
I’m glad the trucking association raised this issue with me. Veterans were facing a needless barrier, and so we passed a bipartisan, common-sense fix for it. It’s a win-win all around.