On June 19, U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Conor Lamb (PA-17)
led a coalition of bipartisan members in a letter to Senate and House
leadership advocating for the needs of the nation’s veterans,
transitioning service members and their families in the next COVID-19
legislative response package.
“The transition for our service members back to civilian life can be
difficult no matter the circumstances. However, particularly during the
current coronavirus pandemic, we believe Congress must do everything in
our power to support our veterans and transitioning service members,
especially by addressing their workforce development, employment, and
economic needs,” the lawmakers wrote to Sen. Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell, Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“Veterans’ unemployment rates are rising due to COVID-19. During the
Great Recession from 2007-2009 studies show that veterans who recently
transitioned to civilian life faced higher unemployment rates than both
older veterans and non-veterans. These studies also indicate increased
veterans’ suicide rates during the Great Recession, tied in part to less
economic opportunity. Accordingly, we are concerned that the adverse
economic conditions stemming from COVID-19 could cause similar harm to
the veterans’ community today. Therefore, we believe that additional
targeted veterans and transitioning service members’ workforce policy
improvements are needed across several federal agencies to COVID-19 and
to ensure economic stability for the veterans’ community in the
The letter outlined the following measures of support to assist veterans
and their families navigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19
• GI Bill benefits coverage for veterans who are nontraditional students
in Registered Apprenticeship and On-the-Job Training programs.
• Funding for the Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) for veterans.
• Increasing access for veterans and transitioning service members to additional skilled training programs.
• Recognizing veterans’ service-connected skills through enhancements to the existing credentialing system.
To view a copy of the letter, visit