REQUIRING HYPERLINK TO VETSUCCESS WEBSITE
(House of Representatives - September 28, 2010)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Pages H7017-H7019]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




               REQUIRING HYPERLINK TO VETSUCCESS WEBSITE

  Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 3685) to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to 
include on the main page of the Internet website of the Department of 
Veterans Affairs a hyperlink to the VetSuccess Internet website and to 
publicize such Internet website.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 3685

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. PROMOTION OF THE VETSUCCESS INTERNET WEBSITE.

       (a) Inclusion of Hyperlink.--Not later than 60 days after 
     the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of 
     Veterans Affairs shall include on the main page of the 
     Internet website of the Department of Veterans Affairs a new 
     hyperlink with a drop-down menu entitled ``Veterans 
     Employment''. The drop-down menu shall include a direct 
     hyperlink to the VetSuccess Internet website, the USA Jobs 
     Internet website, the Job Central website, and any other 
     appropriate employment Internet websites, as determined by 
     the Secretary, especially such websites that focus on jobs 
     for veterans.
       (b) Advertisement of Internet Website.--Subject to the 
     availability of appropriations for such purpose, the 
     Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall, in accordance with 
     section 532 of title 38, United States Code, purchase 
     advertising in national media outlets for the purpose of 
     promoting awareness of the VetSuccess Internet website to 
     veterans.
       (c) Outreach to Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and 
     Operation Enduring Freedom.--The Secretary of Veterans 
     Affairs shall conduct outreach to veterans of Operation Iraqi 
     Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom to inform such 
     veterans of the VetSuccess Internet website.
       (d) VetSuccess Internet Website Defined.--In this section, 
     the term ``VetSuccess Internet website'' means 
     www.vetsuccess.gov or any successor Internet website 
     maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Filner) and the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Buyer) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.


                             General Leave

  Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Congressman Cliff Stearns of 
Florida for introducing this bill, which seeks to include an important 
link to the VetSuccess program on the home page of the Department of 
Veterans Affairs' Web site. Like the other two bills before us today, 
it helps those veterans seeking employment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BUYER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3685, which was introduced by 
my good friend, the deputy ranking member of the House Committee on 
Veterans Affairs, Cliff Stearns of Florida.
  This bill would make it easier to find employment opportunities in 
their area and promote the VetSuccess Web site.
  I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Florida 
(Mr. Stearns) to discuss his legislation.
  Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished ranking member, 
and I also thank Chairman Filner for allowing this bill to come to the 
floor.
  My colleagues, today unemployment continues to be record high, 
particularly in my congressional district. In

[[Page H7018]]

my hometown, it is 14.5 percent, and the unemployment rate in the 
veterans community is even higher. It is higher than I think many of us 
can ever remember.
  So my bill, H.R. 3685, would simply require the Department of 
Veterans Affairs to have a drop-down menu entitled ``Veterans 
Employment'' on its home page. This drop menu would have links to 
VetSuccess, USA Jobs, Job Central and other appropriate employment Web 
sites. It also would require the Secretary of VA to advertise and 
promote the VetSuccess Web site and require direct outreach to veterans 
of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
  This bill comes out of many discussions I have had with the VA over 
the past couple of years. And while the VA has addressed some of my 
concerns, they continue to miss what I believe is the underlying reason 
for the bill--consumer service and usability.

                              {time}  1310

  The VA should have a clear link that will take veterans to a listing 
of jobs based simply on zip code. Today, if you're a veteran and you're 
looking for a job, whether it is in the private sector or within the 
United States Government, it can be a daunting task. The VA should not 
make it harder to use their job searching services to help find a job, 
but make it easier.
  For example, when you go to the VA home page under quick links, under 
``Federal Jobs for Veterans,'' this is close to what I want, but 
private sector jobs are not listed since it only lists Federal jobs and 
completely omits private sector jobs. To find private sector jobs on 
this site, you have to click on the Veteran Service drop-down menu and 
navigate 28 possible links and somehow know that VetSuccess is the 
proper link while you're doing all these 28 links. There's no simple 
link for Veteran Employment or Veteran Jobs. Instead, you need to know 
that the VetSuccess program is what you're looking for.
  If you're unfamiliar with veterans programs, you may not know that 
VetSuccess is the web portal for private sector jobs. The title, 
VetSuccess, isn't even clear in this title. VetSuccess might be the 
link for successful navigation of the Veterans Affairs bureaucracy. The 
title should clearly mention jobs or employment to make it easier for 
our veterans.
  Then, my colleagues, once you get to the VetSuccess web page, you 
must register to look up jobs. You can't just type in your zip code and 
get a list of jobs. My office had to fill out an excessively long form 
and then monitor our spam filter to catch the authentication e-mail 
verifying that we signed up. And then we waited for a follow-up e-mail 
to get our password to finally access the VetSuccess job portal. Can 
you imagine the frustration that must occur?
  This is too high a hurdle for something so simple as a job listing 
for veterans. You should be able to simply go to this one site, type 
your zip code in, and simply get a list of the job listings. When I was 
finally able to type in my zip code and found jobs in my hometown of 
Ocala, Florida, I got a list of about 60 jobs, mostly menial jobs 
driving as a chauffeur and lawn care jobs. But when I went to 
Monster.com, the private side, I don't need to register to do a quick 
lookup for the 240 jobs that were listed within 20 miles of my 
hometown. VetSuccess needs to be more like Monster.com--immediate 
access to job listings by zip code without hiding behind vague titles 
and a crowded drop menu with excessive registration requirement.
  The purpose of my bill, my colleagues, is to get the VA thinking 
about how they should properly address the need for veterans, provide 
good customer service, and lower the barriers to get this information. 
This type of employment information should be easily accessible in 
plain, simple language on the VA's home page and the VetSuccess program 
should provide these job listings without making veterans jump through 
so many hoops.
  So, with that in mind, Mr. Buyer, I want to thank you and thank Mr. 
Filner, the chairman, for allowing this bill to come forward. I hope my 
colleagues will vote in the affirmative.
  Today, unemployment continues to be a record high. In the State of 
Florida the unemployment rate is over 10 percent. In my hometown of 
Ocala, it is over 14 percent. It can be a daunting task finding a job 
for a civilian. It can be even harder to find a job if you are a Guard 
or Reservist returning from deployment or a veteran just exiting the 
service. The unemployment rate in the veteran's community is higher 
than at any time that I remember.
  The VA has created a job portal to help veterans develop their resume 
and hunt for jobs. Unfortunately, like many government run programs, 
they built a program without thinking about the customer, our veterans.
  My bill, HR 3685, would require that the Department of Veterans 
Affairs would have a drop-down menu titled ``Veterans Employment'' on 
its homepage. This drop menu would have links to VetSuccess, USA Jobs, 
Job Central and other appropriate employment websites. It would also 
require the Secretary of VA to advertise and promote the VetSuccess 
website and require direct outreach to veterans of Operation Iraqi 
Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
  This bill comes out of discussions I had with the VA over the past 
couple of years and while the VA has addressed some of my concerns, 
they continue to miss the underlying reason for my bill: customer 
service and usability. The VA should have a clear link that will take 
veterans to a listing of jobs based on zip code.
  Today, if you are a veteran and are looking for a job, whether it is 
in the private sector or within the government, it can be a difficult 
task. The VA should not make it harder to use their job searching 
services to help find a job.
  For example, when you go to the VA homepage under quick links there 
is ``Federal Jobs for Veterans.'' This is close to what I want, but 
private sector jobs are not listed since it only lists federal jobs. To 
find private sector jobs, you have to click on the Veteran Service 
dropdown menu and navigate 28 possible links and somehow know that 
VetSuccess is the proper link.
  There is no simple link for Veteran Employment or Veteran Jobs. 
Instead you need to know that the VetSuccess program is what you're 
looking for. If you're unfamiliar with veteran programs, you may not 
know that VetSuccess is the web portal for private sector jobs. The 
title, VetSuccess, isn't clear. VetSuccess might be the link for 
successful navigation of the VA bureaucracy. The title should clearly 
mention jobs or employment.
  Then, once you get to the VetSuccess webpage you must register to 
look up jobs. You can't just type in your zip code and get a list of 
jobs. My office had to fill out an excessively long form, and then 
monitor our spam filter to catch the authentication e-mail verifying 
that we signed up and then we waited for a follow up e-mail to get our 
password to finally access the VetSuccess job portal.

  This is too high a hurdle for something so simple as a job listing 
for veterans. You should be able to go to this site, type your zip code 
and get the job listings. When I was finally able to type in my zip 
code and found jobs in my hometown of Ocala, I got a list of 64 jobs, 
mostly menial, Driving and Lawncare jobs.
  When I go to Monster.com, I don't need to register to do a quick 
lookup for the 237 jobs listed within 20 miles of Ocala. VetSuccess 
needs to be more like Monster: immediate access to job listings by zip 
code without hiding behind vague titles in a crowded drop menu with 
excessive registration requirements.
  The purpose of my bill is to get the VA thinking about how they 
should properly address the needs of Veterans, provide good customer 
service and lower the barriers to information. This type of employment 
information should be easily accessible in plan language on the VA's 
homepage and the VetSuccess program should provide these job listings 
without making veterans jump through more hoops.
  A March 13, 2010 Washington Post article stated that 21.1 percent of 
veterans age 18-24 are unemployed in this nation. These numbers are far 
above the standard unemployment rate for the nation or for individuals 
of similar ages. Many of these veterans are members of the National 
Guard and reserves who have deployed multiple times. In 2008, the 
unemployment rate among veterans in that age group was 14 percent, 
lower than today's veteran unemployment but still above the national 
average.
  According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics March 2010 report, the 
average unemployment rate for veterans over all eras is 8.1 percent. 
The unemployment rate for all veterans in 2009 was 10.2 percent.
  Mr. BUYER. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate 
the gentleman from Florida on his legislation. He's worked hard on it. 
As you can tell, he has put a lot of time and effort into this. The 
only thing I would add is that it's not just veterans--those whom have 
been recently discharged from the military. We also have guardsmen and 
reservists who are returning. We just had a brigade return

[[Page H7019]]

from Tennessee. Of this brigade that has just returned from a theater 
of war, 40 percent do not have jobs waiting on them. Think about that. 
Forty percent of those just now coming back from a theater of war don't 
have a job waiting on them. So it is not just the veterans who may have 
served the Nation many years ago. It is those who are returning who are 
still active guardsmen and reservists, yet now they don't have that job 
to come back to. We had better be leaning forward on this one.
  Mr. Stearns, I want to thank you for your legislation. I want to 
thank the chairman for supporting the legislation.
  I urge all Members to support H.R. 3685.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. FILNER. I urge my colleagues to unanimously support H.R. 3685, 
and I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Filner) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 3685.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. BUYER. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX and the 
Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be 
postponed.

                          ____________________