Today, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Senator Daniel K. Akaka, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, introduced legislation to strengthen the employment and reemployment rights of our returning servicemen and women. Recent hearings by the Committees have revealed that tens of thousands of returning servicemembers have reported that they lost their jobs and benefits, and there is widespread dissatisfaction with the federal agencies that are supposed to help them.
Senator Kennedy said, "The Administration's failure to help returning servicemembers who have lost their jobs and benefits is a disgrace. It is an insult to their courageous service to our country, and it undermines our ability to maintain the strong National Guard and Reserve that are vital to our national security."
Senator Akaka said, "When veterans turn to the government to protect their employment rights, they deserve solutions, not delays. This legislation will assist the federal government in protecting the employment rights of veterans."
The Kennedy-Akaka Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act Enforcement Improvement Act imposes deadlines on federal agencies to assist servicemembers. It also implements the recommendations of the Government Accountability Office to reduce inefficiencies and improve the information collected by the government on these issues.