House advances Wenstrup’s bipartisan VET OPP Act

Rep. Brad Wenstrup

The U.S. House of Representatives on May 18 passed legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) that the congressman said would help the nation’s warfighters succeed in their transition to civilian life.

Wenstrup had introduced the bipartisan Veterans’ Education, Transition, and Opportunity Prioritization Plan (VET OPP) Act of 2021, H.R. 2494, last month with cosponsor U.S. Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA). The legislation would create a new administration at the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) called the Economic Opportunity and Transition Administration in order to handle transition, education, and employment programs for veterans.

“By aligning transition education and employment programs in a fourth administration within the VA, the VET OPP Act will modernize the department and ensure that these opportunity-focused programs get the high priority that they deserve and the oversight that they need to better serve our veterans,” Rep. Wenstrup said in remarks delivered on April 14 during a hearing held by the House Veterans Affairs’ Committee.

The congressman’s office explained in a May 18 statement that while the Veterans Benefits Administration manages all VA benefits aside from healthcare and cemetery services, the bulk of resources have been directed toward the administration of disability compensation and pension claims. As a result, there is less staffing directed to other benefits, such as the Forever GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation, Home Loan benefits and the Transition Assistance Program.

“Our veterans are strong, dependable leaders and our commitment to programs that promote opportunity and success reinforce their abilities and so I think our servicemembers should have a plan from the day they enter the military really to the day they transition out and beyond to know what they’re going to do next,” Rep. Wenstrup added.

The House advanced the bill to the U.S. Senate for consideration.