WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) introduced legislation today to help streamline the process of receiving a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for veterans. Specifically, the bill calls on the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to develop accelerated licensing procedures to help veterans with the requisite military background and equivalent driving experience to obtain a CDL with shorter wait times and less bureaucratic hassle.
“Helping our veterans turn the skills they learned in the military into good-paying jobs not only honors our promise to support those who have sacrificed for our nation --- it also helps strengthen our nation,”Klobuchar said. “It was great to work with Senator Snowe on this legislation to help reduce barriers for qualified veterans to get their commercial driving licenses so they can get on the road and get good jobs.”
“It is unfortunate so many veterans, especially those recently returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have found themselves unable to successfully transition into civilian professions for which they have already received world-class training,”said Senator Snowe, a senior member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “It is vital they receive our help to overcome the unique challenges and red tape preventing them from using their skills to contribute in the private sector. I am pleased to introduce this legislation with Senator Klobuchar to streamline the process of obtaining CDLs for our nation’s heroic veterans.”
The legislation introduced by Senators Snowe and Klobuchar is similar to a provision in the House version of the highway bill that requires the Secretary of Transportation to establish accelerated procedures to enable qualified veterans to more quickly acquire a CDL. The House version (H.R. 3666) of the bill was introduced by Congressman Randy Hultgren of Illinois, and is included as section 6406 of H.R. 7, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act. CDLs are required in order to operate large trucks and other vehicles. Since some veterans obtain significant experience operating large commercial-type vehicles during their military service, this amendment would require the Secretary of Transportation to establish accelerated licensing procedures for veterans with the appropriate experience. This would help to reduce the licensing burden for qualified veterans, and enable them to more quickly reenter the workforce.