Rep. Herseth Sandlin speaks in favor of her legislation to improve the employment protections of veterans who work for the federal government

Rep. Herseth Sandlin speaks in favor of her legislation to improve the employment protections of veterans who work for the federal government

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AS SHE MAY CONSUME TO THE CHAIR, MS. HERSETH SANDLIN. THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: THE GENTLELADY IS RECOGNIZED. MS. HERSETH SANDLIN: THANK YOU, MR. SPEAKER. THANK YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN, FOR BEING SO SUPPORTIVE OF THE WORK OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE. I RISE TODAY IN STRONG SUPPORT OF H.R. 1089 AS AMENDED, THE VETERANS EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS REALIGNMENT ACT OF 2009, WHICH THE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY SUBCOMMITTEE PASSED ON MARCH 19 AND THE FULL COMMITTEE APPROVED ON MAY 6. ONCE AGAIN WE WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO CONSIDER THIS BILL TODAY IF NOT FOR TH E SUPPORT AND LEADERSHIP OF THE CHAIRMAN AND RANKING MEMBER BOTH OF THE FULL COMMITTEE AS WELL AS MR. BOOZMAN ON THE SUBCOMMITTEE, AND WE INTRODUCED THIS BILL ON FEBRUARY 13, 2009. AGAIN IN RESPONSE TO A NUMBER OF HEARINGS THAT WERE HELD IN THE 110TH CONGRESS. THE BILL WOULD AMEND TITLE 38 OF THE U.S. CODE TO MOVE THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE UNIFORM SERVICES EMPLOYMENT AND REEMPLOYMENT RIGHTS ACT, TO THE ENFORCEMENT OF THOSE PROTECTIONS VETERANS AND MEMBERS OF THE ARMED SERVICES EMPLOYED BY FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES TO THE U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL. THE OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL IS AN INDEPENDENT FEDERAL INVESTIGATIVE AND PROSECUTE YORL AGENCY THAT WAS CREATED BY CONGRESS WITH THE GOAL OF PROTECTING EMPLOYEES, FORMER EMPLOYEES, AND APPLICANTS FOR EMPLOYMENT FROM PROHIBITED PERSONNEL PRACTICES. UNDER A DEMONSTRATION PROJECT ESTABLISHED BY PUBLIC LAW 108-454 , THE OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL INVESTIGATED SOME FEDERAL SECTOR CLAIMS FROM 2004 UNTIL 2007. THIS DEMONSTRATION PROJECT SHOWED THAT THE OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL HAD THE EXPERTISE AND ABILITY TO QUICKLY OBTAIN CORRECTIVE ACTION FOR FEDERALLY EMPLOYED VETERANS. SO BY GRANTING THE OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL INITIAL JURISDICTION OVER ALL OF THESE FEDERAL SECTOR CLAIMS, WE GIVE CLAIMANTS A SINGLE AGENCY TO INVESTIGATE AND RESOLVE THEIR COMPLAINT. THIS WILL BE MORE EFFICIENT THAN THE CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE FIRST THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR INVESTIGATES THE CLAIM AND THEN THE CLAIM IS THEN TRANSFERRED TO O.S.C. AT THE VETERANS’ REQUEST IF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR FAILS TO FIND A RESOLUTION WHICH THEN PROMPTS A SECOND INVESTIGATION. SO AGAIN I WANT TO THANK THE CHAIRMAN, CHAIRMAN FILNER, FOR HIS SUPPORT. I ALSO WANT TO THANK CONGRESSWOMAN KIRKPATRICK OF ARIZONA FOR HER AMENDMENT DURING SUBCOMMITTEE CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL THAT CLARIFIED THE ROLE OF OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL IN THIS IMPORTANT PIECE OF LEGISLATION. AGAIN I ENCOURAGE MY COLLEAGUES

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