WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Coffman got what amounted to no more than half a loaf on his legislation to bolster programs for military veterans, and the Aurora Republican did not hide his displeasure Friday.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved the “Improving Job Opportunities for Veterans Act” without opposition. Four hundred two members cast “aye” votes for the amendment, including Coffman and the other six U.S. representatives from Colorado.
Twenty-nine members did not vote.
The House passed a more ambitious version of the measure in May. It would have allowed returning veterans to use their education benefits for an approved apprenticeship or job-training program.
The current version addresses new programs for the U.S.. Olympic Committee as well as renewals of programs to reintegrate homeless veterans and financial aide for low-income veterans and their families. Coffman, a veteran of both the Gulf and Iraq wars, registered his disquiet on the floor of the House Friday morning.
“… I am disappointed the substance of H.R. 1412 was not included in this bill,” Coffman said, adding he fully supported the amendment just the same. “Employers in my district have expressed their desire to work with the program and hire more veterans because they know valuable veterans can be to their organization.”
Coffman vowed to work with House and Senate leaders to retain the job-training provisions in the earlier draft.