President Trump Signs Congressman Dunn’s Veterans STEM Bill into Law

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    Shelia Mader | TIMES - Pictured left to right: Bill Stanton, Keith Williams, Kevin Wall, Congressman Neal Dunn and Jeff Snell at a meeting held in Marianna earlier.

    Representative Neal Dunn submitted a bill, “Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act,” in early February and it passed the House and left headed to the President’s desk.
    Dunn said of this bill, “This legislation will offer much deserved employment and educational opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields for our veterans. I was also privileged to join fellow Florida Representatives to discuss human trafficking as Florida prepares to host the Super Bowl. I remain deeply opposed to House Democrats’ efforts this week to undermine President Trump and his authority as our Constitutional Commander-in-Chief. I am vigilantly following developments on the Coronavirus and the steps we can take to better protect our citizens. And finally, I am excited to share news of the President’s signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement and the prosperity it will bring our nation.”
    Tuesday, President Donald Trump brought that bill to fruition when he signed Congressman Neal Dunn’s Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act into law. This important legislation works to expand veterans’ job and educational opportunities in the sciences.
    “President Trump recognizes the importance of keeping our promise to America’s heroes and ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed in civilian life. STEM related jobs are growing at an unprecedented rate in the United States and many of our veterans have the unique skills to excel in these fields,” said Dr. Dunn. “By expanding education and job opportunities for our veterans in STEM fields, my legislation eases the transition from active duty to civilian life, while keeping America at the forefront of the world’s ever-growing technology arena. Getting this important legislation signed into law has been one of my top priorities and I am thankful that we have a President who values our heroes’ dedication to our country.”
    Congressman Dunn said in an interview Wednesday morning, “We were flying pretty high up here yesterday afternoon when President Trump signed that bill. He put on quite a show. It’s a good bill and it really does help the veterans.”
    “I thank my colleagues in the Senate and House for unanimously supporting this bipartisan effort to ensure our nation’s veterans have the skills and opportunities to succeed in STEM careers, and I applaud President Trump for signing it into law,” Senator Marco Rubio said. “Veterans who are returning to civilian life are uniquely qualified to excel in STEM roles, and the 21st century workforce will be dominated by these jobs. This bipartisan bill will ensure the skills our veterans attain during their service to our nation are put to good use for decades to come as they successfully transition back to civilian life.”
    The Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a veterans’ outreach plan and publish data on veterans’ participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in its annual “Indicators” report. The bill updates the NSF Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, fellowship program, and cyber grant programs to include outreach to veterans. Additionally, the bill tasks the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy with examining how to increase veteran participation in STEM career fields.
    Dr. Dunn’s legislation passed the House last Congress, but was not passed by the Senate. This Congress, Senator Marco Rubio (Republican-FL) introduced companion legislation, S. 153, in the Senate.
    In our interview with Dr. Dunn Wednesday morning and he had another bill that has gone through that he is very proud of and is of great benefit to veterans. Dunn had been instrumental in pushing the VA M.I.S.S.I.O.N. Act through to the President for signing. This act allows veterans to seek treatment locally with more ease than before its passage.
    Previously, federal law said that the VA would only pay for a veteran to receive private or specialty care, if the veteran had to drive more than 40 miles or wait longer than 30 days could choose to see a VA doctor.
    Now under the M.I.S.S.I.O.N. Act, the VA will pay for care if a veteran has to wait longer than 28 days or drive more than an hour to see a VA provider, meaning that more veterans can receive care locally instead of traveling outside the county.
    The law makes it so that as many as 2.1 million vets are now eligible for private care compared to the previous number of 560,000 eligible veterans.
    Local veterans say that this law is good news for the veteran community. Dunn said, “The M.I.S.S.I.O.N. Act is largely facilitating veteran’s care in the community where they live. So, not everybody can travel to a VA medical center. The early data on this is just terrific. The veterans are happy, the doctors and hospitals are happy and the transplants are moving back to Florida instead of chasing our transplants up to Pittsburg and stuff. It looks like this is the biggest win for the VA in a long, long time.”

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