U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) recently introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure more veterans can use their GI Bill benefits at commercials driver’s license schools. Under current law, when an accredited CDL school that has been approved for this program opens a new location, it must wait a full two years before it can receive such benefits. This legislation would remove this red tape and allow veterans to obtain a CDL license from schools with a parent campus that has been approved.
CVTA strongly believes that the quality of schools who qualify for this program should remain remarkably high and monitored closely. Under this current bill, a CDL education program is exempt from the two-year waiting period only if it (1) is appropriately licensed and (2) uses the same curriculum as a commercial driver education program offered by the educational institution at another location that has already been approved by the authorizing agency or Secretary. We therefore feel this expansion appropriately provides additional benefits without diminishing the high standards that qualifying schools must reach to be in compliance with the program.
“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.
While we support this bill for the reasons stated above, CVTA would like to address the fact that, while this is a step in the right direction, it is not the finish line in removing barriers for veterans to enter the trucking industry. Our members have reported red tape issues in receiving these benefits and limitations on the number of veterans who can be trained at one time. We urge Congress to pass this bill, but we also hope to see additional legislation in the future that addresses these issues as well.