Senate Traction for Woodall Veterans Legislation
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator and Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced companion legislation, the “Jobs for our Heroes Act of 2017,” to a House bill (H.R. 2547) authored by Rep. Rob Woodall (GA 07) that has already been unanimously approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The measure expands upon the Veterans Expanded Trucking Opportunities (VETOPPS) Act, which was signed into law in 2015 as part of the FAST Act, and removed regulatory barriers for military veterans continuing or beginning work in the trucking industry. Specifically, Woodall’s 2015 provision required the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Veterans Administration (VA) to develop a streamlined process for VA physicians to join the National Registry for Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME), which FMCSA estimated will save VA doctors over $600 on average. The new Woodall/Cornyn legislation builds upon current law to increase veterans’ access by allowing all qualified VA medical professionals, including advanced practice nurses and physician assistants, to provide physical examinations for veterans using the new streamlined process.
“Serving our veterans is one of those things that brings us together, and I’m very grateful to Senator Cornyn for his partnership on this important issue. The VETOPPS Act has always been rooted in the shared notion that bureaucratic red tape should not be standing between our veterans and employment opportunities – and if it does, we should work across the aisle and across the Capitol to solve the problem,” said Woodall. “We quickly found bipartisan, bicameral consensus to do just that in 2015, and we’ve already found that same bipartisanship in moving a common sense concept forward to serve even more veterans now.”
“We should be making it easier, not harder, for members of the armed forces to be gainfully employed both while they are in the reserves and after they complete their service,” said Sen. Cornyn. “The servicemen and women who have experience operating large military vehicles should be able to easily apply their skills and knowledge when seeking a commercial driver’s license, and this legislation allows for just that.”
Woodall credits the success of the VETOPPS Act to not only the bipartisan commitment to veterans, but a strong local partnership with constituents in the Seventh District.
“Not being in the trucking industry myself, the only reason I was even aware of the difficulty is because a constituent took the time to pick up the phone and tell me about how we could do better. We’re fortunate to have experts in virtually every field imaginable here at home, and by working together to confront challenges, we see this kind of uneventful problem-solving time and again - much more than many realize.”
Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee.