Representative Levin Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve Transition Assistance Program for Servicemembers Returning to Civilian Life
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA), Chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, announced the introduction of the Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William "Bill" Mulder (Ret.) Transition Improvement Act of 2019, a bipartisan bill to improve the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) for servicemembers returning to civilian life. The legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Gil Cisneros (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), and Susie Lee (D-NV).
The bipartisan bill, first introduced by Representative Arrington in the 115th Congress, would create a pilot program for off-base transition training to make the transition process easier for veterans and spouses by giving them more time to access resources and digest the information provided to them, all while living in their new community. The legislation would also create a grant program for organizations to provide multiple transition assistance services such as resume assistance, interview training, and job recruitment training from a central source. Currently, veterans must navigate several organizations to access these resources.
Lastly, it would require a one-year independent assessment of the effectiveness of TAP and expand access to better employment data at the Department of Labor and the Veterans’ Affairs Department.
“We have a solemn duty to ensure that our nation’s heroes are able to readily access the best possible services when it comes time to transition back to civilian life after sacrificing for their country,” said Rep. Levin. “Far too often, servicemembers have difficulty accessing essential resources to receive their benefits, connect with community organizations, and start new careers. The Transition Assistance Program plays a critical role in providing veterans with the support they need and deserve, and I am proud to introduce a bipartisan bill that will make much-need improvements to the program.”
“An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Investing in an effective and seamless transition from active duty to civilian life is not only the right thing to do, it can prevent much of the pain, problems and cost associated with our servicemen who struggle in the process,” said Rep. Arrington. “Bill Mulder, my friend for which this legislation was named, was a true American hero and highly decorated combat veteran whose life may have been saved by a more comprehensive and effective transition assistance program. We owe it to Bill and to all ‘who have borne the battle’ to do all we can to ensure a successful transition to civilian life and I’m confident this legislation does just that.”
“I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill to take steps to improve the Transition Assistance Program for our nation’s heroes,” said Rep. Cisneros. “As a Navy Veteran, I understand the difficulties our service members face as they attempt to transition back to civilian life, find work, and relocate to be close to their families and loved ones. Instead of burdening our veterans with added responsibilities, the government should step up and serve those who have served us, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to improve access to the resources our veterans deserve.”
“I am proud to once again co-sponsor this important bill because it ensures a more individualized and mindful approach to counseling servicemembers departing from the military,” said Rep. Bilirakis. “Veterans from my district were able to give input that has been incorporated and strengthened the bill. We must continue to support our nation’s heroes as they transition from military service into civilian life, and this legislation will allow us to make tangible progress toward reaching that moral imperative.”
“I am honored to help introduce this important legislation, which would improve the Transition Assistance Program and ensure our men and women in uniform get the support they need when they return home from service,” said Rep. Cunningham. “Bottom line, we have a responsibility to our veterans to make sure they are equipped to succeed as they make the often-difficult transition into civilian life. I’m proud Democrats and Republicans are working together to make sure every single veteran is able to access the support they have earned.”
“Our veterans give up so much in selfless service to our nation and we need to ensure they have a seamless transition back to civilian life. I have been fighting to make sure they get all the benefits they have earned, so I’m proud to help introduce this legislation,” said Rep. Lee. “It is time we modernize the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and invest in making sure our men and women in uniform and their spouses have peace of mind once they leave the service.”