House Passes Rep. Mike Levin’s Legislation to Prioritize Veterans’ Economic Benefits at VA
Washington, D.C. — Today, the House of Representatives passed Rep. Mike Levin’s (D-CA) bipartisan, bicameral bill to create an Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to prioritize transition, education, and employment programs. Rep. Levin, who serves as Chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, introduced the Veterans’ Education, Transition, and Opportunity Prioritization Plan (VET OPP) Act with Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
“As we continue to build an economic recovery from the pandemic, it’s time that we prioritize education and employment programs within the VA so everyone who has served our country has an opportunity to succeed in civilian life,” said Rep. Levin. “A new Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration within the VA will cut through red tape that has prevented too many veterans from accessing the economic programs they have earned. I’m proud my bill to do that has passed the House, and I urge the Senate to send it to President Biden’s desk without delay.”
Currently, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is responsible for all VA benefits provided to veterans outside of health care and cemetery services. While there are many different benefits that VBA provides, the bulk of staffing and resources have been directed towards the administration of disability compensation and pension claims. This has resulted in a lack of attention on the administration of other VBA benefits, such as the Forever GI Bill, Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E), Home Loan benefits, and VA’s portion of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP).
The VET OPP Act would address this issue by realigning transition, education, and employment programs at VA under a new administration, the Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration. This new administration would be accountable to a presidentially appointed undersecretary and would be created using existing resources to avoid additional bureaucracy.
The following veterans organizations support the VET OPP Act:
- Paralyzed Veterans of America
- Student Veterans of America
- Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America