Amata Radewagen

07/13/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/13/2020 18:56

Amata with DeFazio, Walden, and Allred in Introducing Congressional VA Work-Study Legislation

Washington, D.C. - Monday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata worked with lead sponsor Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Rep. Greg Walden (OR-02), and Rep. Colin Allred (TX-32) in introducing bipartisan legislation to re-authorize a successful Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) work-study program in congressional offices, allowing veterans to assist their fellow veterans with accessing the benefits and services they've earned.

'Veterans are a great source of knowledge, leadership, and dependability,' said Rep. Aumua Amata. 'This bill encourages the practice of having Veterans as a constant resource in our constituent services. Thank you to Reps. DeFazio, Walden, and Allred for their leadership on this important effort.'

Congresswoman Amata and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie

'I cannot think of a more appropriate way to simultaneously serve our constituents and to honor our nation's veterans than by bringing this work-study program back to congressional offices so veterans can help their fellow veterans access the benefits and services they deserve and earned,' said Rep. DeFazio. 'This legislation ensures that every dollar spent on the program improves our efforts to help our nation's veterans. I'm hopeful that this legislation will cut through pointless government bureaucracy to revive this successful program.'

'Our veterans deserve to receive the benefits and services they earned,' said Rep. Walden. 'This legislation helps provide veterans access to job training and work-study programs-both which play critical roles in veterans' transition to civilian life. I am glad to sponsor this bill that will deliver for so many veterans in Oregon and across the nation and I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this bill passed and to the President's desk!'

'Our veterans deserve every opportunity to continue serving our nation, and their fellow veterans. We must always work to ensure our veterans have access to job training and work-study programs that can help them succeed,' said Rep. Allred. 'Veterans often have to navigate so much to ensure they get the benefits they are owed, and I know North Texans would welcome more helping hands at the local level. I thank my colleagues for their bipartisan work on this bill.'

Since the 1980s, congressional offices were eligible to participate in a VA work-study program that allowed student veterans the opportunity to develop valuable job skills while assisting their fellow veterans in navigating the VA's bureaucracy. However, after 25 years of successful program operation, the VA suddenly ended work-study eligibility for congressional offices in 2009.

This legislation would reauthorize the program, specifically permitting VA congressional work-study students to perform outreach services to service members, veterans, and their dependents, as well as assist with efforts to secure earned benefits.