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Veterans Employment and Training Services

VeteransEmployment and Training Services

VeteransEmployment and Training Services (VETS)

Veterans`Employment and Training Services (VETS) is an American agency in theDepartment of Labor Services (DOL) which offers assistance toveterans, service members, and their spouses in different waysclassified in three classes. First, it prepares veterans for a smoothand streamlined transition from the military camp and class to acivilian workplace. That transition is done through training andworkshops meant to train them on how to work in a civilianenvironment. Secondly, VETS program makes sure that veterans securejob placement through the program`s assistance provided by thenetwork of American job centers as well as other programs that helpthose who are homeless and disadvantaged veterans who could otherwisebe left out in the bid to seek proper and appropriate employmentservices. Thirdly, the program advocates for personal labor rightsand ensures that those rights are granted to the veterans and areprotected. Further, the program provides that veterans are given somelevel of preference in as far as federal hiring is done. VETS programwas set up to guarantee the veterans, regardless of disability jobplacement after the service of volunteering for the nation andcitizens therein (Coile, Duggan and Guo, 2015). Keeping their life onthe line of death for the sake of the state defense is a noble traitthat deserves to be compensated, and thus the veteran should have apreference in federal and state employment opportunities.

However,there has been a problem of underfunding for VETS, and as such, welook at the issues in budget allocation for the program. It is notedthat after years of volunteering to preserve the dignity, freedom,and way of life for the Americans, veterans are too often unpreparedthrust back to the society being helpless, homeless and with nothingto spend, thus becoming a burden to society and family. Once aveteran finds himself in such a situation, he may end up withfrustrations that culminate to suicide (Sandoval, 2015). It is,therefore, incumbent upon the federal government of the day throughthe Department of Labor Services (DOL) and VETS to ensure that thereis enough assistance to the veterans for smooth sailing to transitionto civilian life with the same regard and dignity they were treatedto when they were being enlisted. That is done so that they becomeself- reliant and productive members of the society (Curry Hall,Harrell, et al., 2015). It is also proper, practical, and show ofhumanity to have the VETS budget supported as it gets to theconference for final inclusion in the FY17 Appropriations Bill.

of the President`s Appropriation Request

The2017 budget request for the President and advance appropriations for2018 for Veterans Affairs fulfill the promise made by the presidentto give American veterans, their families, and survivors with careand decent benefits they have earned throughout their passionateservice. In 2017 budget, the allocations requested includes $182.3billion which will be classified as $78.7 billion in discretionaryresources and $103.6 billion for mandatory funding. The discretionarybudget request is an increase of $3.6 billion, or 4.9% increase abovewhat was offered in the FY16. Veterans` Affairs 2018 AdvanceAppropriations request for discretionary medical care is $66.4billion which is an increase of $1.4 billion over the 2017allocation. Mandatory benefits appropriation requests are $103.9billion showing an increase of $1.4 billion over and above lastyear`s request (Panangala, 2015). The following graph demonstratesthe summary for the appropriations that have been granted and thosethat are being proposed for 2017 and 2018 advances.

Therequests if passed by the Congress would see to it that veteransincrease access to services and benefits, realize continued progresson the disability claims that have backlogged over time, and forproviding decent homes for those without homes. MyVA transformationis actualized through the budget request as it provides Veterans,families, and survivors with the highest quality benefits andservices compared to anywhere on the planet. They will earn sobecause they earned them through their sacrifice and service to thenation.

Fig.1: VETS Budgetary Allocations from the Year 2015 to 2018

Actionby the Congress

TheCongress upon receipt of the budget request from the presidentdebated the rationale the president the used to arrive at theproposed budget. The Congress being the body that approves the budgetallocations in the form of an Appropriation Bill that gives the legalauthority to have the assignments implemented. The presidentialbudget request must be submitted on or before the first Monday ofFebruary every year for it to be considered for debate and approvalfor use in the following year. It is noted that the budget-makingprocess for a particular fiscal period takes a cycle of two yearsbefore it is submitted to the Congress for appropriation (Panangala,2015). Once the VA budget requested to the Congress forappropriation, it goes to the budget and appropriation committee ofthe Congress which then deliberates on the requests before thembefore submitting the report of approval or otherwise to the plenary.

TheCongress sub-committees are formed to conduct public hearings on thebudget request where the stakeholders are invited to air their viewson the matters arising. On the case of VETS, since they arestakeholders in this issue of the veterans` affairs they would cometo either raise questions on why the allocation should either bemaintained at the level proposed or should be increased to a levelVETS program would demand. VETS has the responsibility to lobby allstakeholders in the bid to support proper funding of the programthrough the VA as it will increase the welfare of the nationalheroes. Further, the Congress committee on budget and appropriationwill also collapse the proposed amount so as to assess the decency ofthe allocation per veteran`s household. Also, the lobbying will alsoinclude supporting increased allocation of service funding where themoney they will get should be sufficient to meet their daily needs,depending on the demands by the veterans. There are disabled veteranswho are completely dependent on the family. The president`s VA budgetrequest should allocate more on the disabled veterans who areunemployable for having sustained permanent injuries that render themnon-performing in any form of employment (Sandoval, 2015). Therefore,the allocation to that category of veterans should be high enough tothe level of their salaries.

Thework of the Congress is hearing the opinions of the experts,stakeholders, VETS, civil society, labor unions, and the public whoinclude family members. They will then have a proposed report to theHouse where they will amend the president`s request, uphold it orreject and demand a more public friendly request from the president.The Congress has the responsibility of ensuring that the proposalbought for the people are friendly and does not harm the veteran. Infact, the request appropriated by the Congress should make theveterans better year after year. The budget and appropriationcommittee should have more funds for VETS as it is the platformthrough the veterans would get a better living and hope for the nextday which they are thrust into by the military.

PoliticalEquities

VETSprogram was made by the government, where the president promised tomake veterans have the best and the highest benefits that can befound anywhere in the world. The response that has been given byveterans has shown that they have been turning to VA for healthservices as they provide quality healthcare. That is the anotherreason why VETS program should be supported by the Congress so as tohave proper funding to ensure the services they offer to the veteransare of high quality and is accessible to all. Nevertheless, it shouldbe the work of the Congress to lobby for better employment for theemployable veterans who are physically healthy, and those whosedisability is not too fatal to warrant unemployment.

However,having a bill from the president who is the senior most politician inAmerica, there is an expectation that politicking will be at play inthe process of making VETS budget appropriation a national policy.That is because there are those who are opposed to the governmenteither objectively or with a purpose to correct the government on thefloor of the Congress. For those who are objective have the questionof the economic value VETS program adds to the economy, and if theappropriation will help them mend their lives. Further, the issue ofthe veterans` productivity in as the current situation of the countryis concerned, as well as their productive capacity (Lopez, 2016).Further, there is also the political as well as the economic questionof if the benefits for the veterans are varied, what is the role ofthose who are well and not classified under the class of the disabledveterans? It is also asked whether they can be absorbed in theemployment industry where they could continue earning a salary asthey were before. Those questions will rise from those who want tocorrect the government on the floor of the house. Those who will besupporting the bill are those politicians who double up as thewelfare activists as they champion for the well-being of theveterans. The role played by veterans in America is paramount anddeserve decent package that will retain them to where they were whilein the military. That is because they defended the nation, itsdignity, freedoms, and way of life for the American people. Those whoare government sympathizers, and campaigned on the platform of makingthe lives of the veterans and the less fortunate better, those willsupport the appropriation bill (Kregel and Miller, 2016). When apolitician is elected on a ticket of the party that forms thegovernment makes one support the government by default.

Advocacyand Lobbying

VETSprogram is more of an advocacy and a lobbying program than a policydriven program. That is because it is formed for three issues whichare first, it is meant to prepare veterans for a smooth transitionfrom military to civilian lifestyle and employment. Secondly, it issupposed to offer assistance to veterans to secure job placement inthe federal government as a priority. And thirdly, it is meant toensure that the individual labor rights for the veterans areprotected and that veterans are given priority in governmentemployment (Curry Hall, Harrell et al., 2015). The role played byVETS is more of advocacy than policy. That is why the Congress isalways prepared, and even on this appropriation, it is, that there isalways a lot of activism in the process of budget making process forVETS. In public hearings and participation during the committee stagebefore the report is tabled before the Congress most of those whoparticipate in the contributions are the civil society which isconcerned with the welfare of the veterans.

Advocacyagencies like labor unions which want the rights and dignity of theveterans recognized and upheld and those who feel that veterans whoare homeless should be welcomed in good homes are also involved inlobbying. Also, there are those agencies which care for the disabledand feel that veterans who served the nation should be granted theirright to good and quality health and should be compensated for thesacrifice they made for the country. Those are the individuals andagencies which would be expected during the hearings. Lobbying wouldbe highly effective as the requirements of the veterans areconsidered and are made known to the committee so that as it makesthe recommendations for the House to adopt, they would find those tooand be part of the government success in making veterans alive againafter a long time of neglect.

Thebudget program for the fiscal year 2017 was begun one year ago, wherethe budget policy paper for 2017 which started on 1st October wastabled in Congress on the first Monday of February 2016. It is afterthe president presents his budget request that the senate and thecongress write and vote their budget resolutions. That is facilitatedby the budget committees of both houses. Then, the appropriationscommittees then mark up the budget, where both house committeesdetermine the precise level of spending for all discretionaryprograms. The next step is that both the full house and the senatevote for the appropriations bill and reconcile the difference. Thatis done for all the appropriations bills from each of the 12committees, and in this regard for VETS. Finally, the presidentappends the signature on all the appropriation bills thereby thebudget becoming law (Panangala, 2015).

Allthe twelve house and senate committees have an allocation by thepresident that is requested for consideration to be included in thebudget policy for the year. However, it is noted that only on rareoccasions are the work finished by the committees by the start of theexercise. That is because the demands fronted by the people thereinare vast and non-exhaustible in the current year (Panangala, 2015).In this regard, VETS has quite a task to ensuring the veterans aremade comfortable while those who are yet to leave the force areprepared for the exit to become civilians. That program requirefunding as they have to reach out to those in the force, and thosealready out toiling in the country while trying to cope with thecivilian life, which they are not used to be in, while in theircountry. Thus a transition preparation is imperative.

Recommendations

VETSprogram is the government tool to get the actual picture of theveterans` situation and the toil they go through in their bid toadjust and becoming civilians. That is the reason the president gavean undertaking that he would love to see veterans being enviablemembers of the society where they earn a decent living and have astable life for themselves, family and survivors. For those who lostlife in the line of duty, their families would be compensatedadequately and taken back to their desired lifestyle. Also, the livesof those who live on the streets and are homeless yet they sacrificedtheir lives for the dignity, freedoms, and way of life for theAmerican society should be given a dignified package that maintainstheir dignity and respect as a former member of the force. Therefore,with all the issues VETS has presented, it is only sane and prudentfor the Congress and the Senate to appropriate the presidents` budgetrequest for the Veterans Affairs so as to make them happy again. Thelegislature should work as one in a bipartisan approach for the sakeof veterans in America who have no dignity or are an embarrassment tothe nation as they have been neglected. VETS should work smart toreach the unreached so as to unravel the unsaid truths, and as wellhelp the federal government offer a smooth transition for theveterans as they join civilians.

References

CurryHall, K., Harrell, M. C., Bicksler, B., Stewart, R., &amp Fisher, M.P. (2015). Connecting

Veteransand Employers.

Coile,C., Duggan, M., &amp Guo, A. (2015). Veterans` Labor ForceParticipation: What Role Does

theVA`s Disability Compensation Program Play?. TheAmerican Economic Review,

105(5),131-136.

Kregel,J., &amp Miller, L. (2016). DisabilityBenefits for Veterans: Interactions Among Department

ofDefense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Social SecurityAdministration

Programs(No. 1dcd842da92e40578ff982843a65788c). Mathematica Policy Research.

Lopez,L. M. (2016). TheVeteran Perception: Exploring the Role of Veterans Benefits on the

Transitionfrom Service Member to Civilian(Doctoral dissertation, University of

ColoradoColorado Springs. Kraemer Family Library).

Panangala,S. V. (2015). Department of Veterans Affairs FY2016 Appropriations:In Brief.

Sandoval,K. N. (2015). Health Care In The US Department Of Veterans Affairs:Critical Issues

AndStrategic Progress.