Padilla, Fischer Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Veterans’ Access to Commercial Driver’s Licenses￼
Bill would ensure veterans can use their GI Bill benefits at accredited commercial driver’s license schools
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure veterans can utilize their GI benefits at new branches of commercial driver’s license (CDL) schools whose primary institutions have already received regulatory approval. Currently, if an approved trucking school opens a secondary facility in a new location, existing laws require that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and state regulators must deny the branch’s ability to receive GI benefits for two years.
“Our veterans deserve access to resources and opportunities to support themselves and their families after serving. This bill not only supports our veterans by expanding work opportunities, it would also help keep goods moving throughout our nation as we continue to face supply chain challenges. And it will expand veterans’ GI Bill benefits to help veterans pursue educational and career training opportunities, while maintaining strong accrediting standards for institutions,” said Senator Padilla.
“Veterans have already given so much for our country – the last thing they need is more frustrating red tape that prevents them from pursuing a career that is essential to our modern economy. These technical changes will reverse unnecessary regulations and allow more veterans to take advantage of their GI benefits,” said Senator Fischer, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.
“The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is proud to lend its support to this proposal for veterans seeking commercial driver education programs. This bill could help reduce nationwide supply chain shortages and veteran underemployment. The VFW thanks Senators Fischer and Padilla for their bipartisan efforts to address this multifaceted challenge,” said MaCherie Dunbar, Associate Director of VFW’s National Legislative Service.
“This legislation is a win-win. It supports our nation’s heroes in their pursuit of rewarding careers as they transition out of military service, and it expands our industry’s access to this exceptional pool of talent as we need to hire 1.1 million new drivers over the next decade. We thank Senators Fischer and Padilla for standing with America’s veterans and the men and women who keep our economy rolling,” said Chris Spear, American Trucking Associations President & CEO.
The Fischer-Padilla legislation would ensure CDL schools that offer courses at new branches do not have to wait two years if the primary institutions have already been approved by the VA and state approving agency to receive funding. By clarifying this two-year moratorium statute, the bill will allow veterans more access to nearby CDL schools and lead to more careers in the trucking industry. CDL schools must still comply with state and VA rules regarding curriculum standards to ensure no programs are exploiting veterans or offering fraudulent courses.
Senator Padilla is committed to supporting all those who have fought for our nation’s freedom. From improving immigration services for military families to addressing veteran homelessness and cleaning up harmful PFAS chemicals on military bases, Padilla works to ensure that servicemembers, veterans, and their families receive the support they deserve. He is committed to guaranteeing that our veterans receive the full benefits and care that they have earned.
The legislation is endorsed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Moving Veterans Forward, Werner Trucking, American Trucking Association, Commercial Vehicle Training Association, and Nebraska Trucking Association.
Full text of the bill is available here.