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Debunking the Myths: H.R. 4072

Issues: Veterans

H.R. 4072

H.R. 4072, the Consolidation Veterans Employment Services for Improved Performance Act of 2012, will bring all veterans employment programs under one roof to help the coordination of programs for education and employment. By transferring VETS from the Department of Labor to VA, unemployed veterans will have greater access to programs and services available. H.R. 4072 is a bipartisan effort to better serve America's veterans.

THE FACTS: Consolidating Veteran Employment Services to Better Serve Our Veterans

Opponents to H.R. 4072, the Consolidation Veterans Employment Services for Improved Performance Act of 2012, will tell you almost anything to ensure that it does not receive support in Congress. We want to set the record straight. Here are both the myths and facts on H.R. 4072.

Myth 1

MYTH: The current state grant system run by VETS at Labor is providing quality services to veterans.

FACT: While services have minimally improved over the years, since 1997 there have been 16 GAO or other government commission reports that have consistently shown that VETS has been unable to provide adequate oversight over the State Grant program and failed to implement adequate performance metrics to determine the quality of services provided to veterans seeking employment.

Myth 2

MYTH: H.R. 4072 would fragment the federal workforce system and reduce services.

FACT: Rather than adding to the current fragmentation of the federal training and employment system, HR 4072 consolidates all Title 38 veteran employment programs under one roof. This consolidation will improve intra-program effectiveness through better coordination among VA’s current education and vocational rehabilitation services and VETS programs. VETS federal staff, both DC and state-based will continue to perform the same functions with improved oversight at the senior level.

Myth 3

MYTH: H.R. 4072 lacks a clear plan on how the transfer would occur.

FACT: Section 105 of H.R. 4072 requires VA to submit a copy of their plan to Congress 1 year after enactment where they are required to detail their plan to transfer VETS. In this plan they are required to address issues related to information technology, human resources and personnel, contracts and memorandums of understanding that VETS had previously entered into and anything else VA deems as significant.

Myth 4

MYTH:  The Departments of Labor and VA oppose moving VETS (Veteran Employment & Training Service) to VA.

FACT:  In testimony before the HVAC Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, neither Department expressed opposition to transferring VETS to VA.

Myth 5

MYTH: VA has enough to do and lacks the funding needed to provide appropriate oversight of VETS.

FACT: VA's sole mission to care for the needs of America's veterans. It is not the Department of Labor's. The addition of VETS to the VBA organization brings with it the staff familiar with its programs and the resources needed to carry them out.

VA recently reorganized the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) to improve supervision and management of all of its business lines.

VA has received increases in staffing and resources to meet the increased demands for veterans’ services and programs. For example, VA employed about 225,000 FTE in the mid-1990s.  VA now employs 305,000 FTE.

Since 1997, 16 GAO reports have shown that the main agency tasked with helping veterans find jobs is not getting it done. It is time for a change, and that change is H.R. 4072:

“Our work at VETS has shown that its current performance measures focus more on process than on results.” - GAO Report May, 1997

“(VETS) strategic and performance plans fail to address how it will help shape the way employment services are delivered to veterans and, in particular, how it will adapt to the new employment training environment being created by technological changes and WIA.”  - GAO Report July, 1999

“Labor and VA have had a long-standing relationship formalized by agreements acknowledging their mutual concern and responsibility for helping veterans with service-connected disabilities transition to the civilian workforce. Their past efforts to coordinate and collaborate have faced difficulties however”  - GAO Report September, 2007

“For 15 years, GAO has reported on the need for better coordination among all disability programs (VA & DOL) to mitigate fragmentation, overlap, and potential for duplication. As GAO reported in September 1996, programs helping people with disabilities were not working together efficiently, and people with disabilities may have been receiving duplicate services or facing service gaps due to lack of coordination.” - GAO Report February, 2012