Kennedy, Cleland: ‘stop messing with vets’ jobs.’

As Americans observe Veterans Day today, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and former senator Max Cleland note that the federal government has failed in its responsibility to help troops return to civilian life when they come home from battle:

It’s a disgrace that tens of thousands of National Guard troops and Reservists return home and find they’ve been laid off, demoted, or denied salary and benefit increases they should have received. It’s wrong for employers to turn their backs on those who risk their lives for our country. […]

Today, however, the federal government is failing in this responsibility. It’s not even adequately informing returning service members about their rights, and it’s not protecting them when their rights are violated. A study by the Government Accountability Office this year found that when the Department of Labor decided to refer federal cases for litigation, it took an average of 247 days. […]

“Support Our Troops” is more than just a slogan. Americans as individuals and as a nation must guarantee that our brave service men and women can resume their lives as much as possible when they return from battle. We hope this hearing will be a turning point for Congress, the President, and the nation in living up to their responsibility.