WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is calling for details on how the government is holding its contractors accountable for hiring veterans and protecting them from discrimination. The Administration recently revoked an executive order that targeted contractors who failed to follow requirements for supporting veterans.
“I’ve heard from too many Missouri veterans who’ve struggled to get a civilian job after sacrificing so much to protect our country,” McCaskill said. “I’m concerned that the federal government is taking steps backward when it should be doing everything it can to protect our veterans and help them get jobs.”
Since 1974, the federal government has promoted the hiring of veterans and outlawed workplace discrimination against them through laws and regulations issued by the Department of Labor. An executive order was issued in 2014 that strengthened measures against contractors and subcontractors who failed to follow the requirements, but the Administration revoked the executive order last year.
“Federal contractors and subcontractors cannot discriminate against veterans, and the federal government should make every effort to discourage this unlawful behavior,” McCaskill wrote in a letter to the Department of Labor. She raised concerns that revoking these protections could make it more difficult for veterans to get jobs with government contractors and subcontractors and requested details from the Department of Labor about how it will continue to hold government contractors and subcontractors accountable.
The daughter of a World War II veteran, McCaskill has a long history of standing up for veterans. She is seeking answers from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) after a report finding that thousands of servicemembers with PTSD or other mental health conditions who received “other than honorable” discharges were potentially barred from receiving mental healthcare and other benefits. Following issues with construction at VA facilities in Missouri, McCaskill called for answers on what the agency’s Inspector General is doing to improve oversight over major construction projects.
Aiming to continue improvements to the quality of customer service at statewide VA facilities, McCaskill created a “secret-shopper program,” the Veterans’ Customer Satisfaction Program, which allows veterans to share timely, confidential feedback about their VA health care visits, and helps provide oversight and accountability for VA health care facilities. The program is now active in five regions: St. Louis; Kansas City; Columbia; Poplar Bluff; Southwest Missouri (Fayetteville). In 2016, following advocacy from McCaskill and more than one-thousand rural veterans in Missouri, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it would expand the hours of operation at the Salem Veterans Clinic to be open Monday through Friday.
Read McCaskill’s letter to the Department of Labor HERE.