Veteran Improvement Commercial Driver License Act would allow veterans to use GI benefits to get a job in the trucking industry
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) joined U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Alex Padilla (D-CA) as a cosponsor of the Veteran Improvement Commercial Driver License Act, which will cut red tape to allow more veterans to find a good-paying job and help address the trucker shortage.
This bill would ensure veterans’ GI benefits can be utilized at new branches of commercial driving program (CDL) schools whose primary institutions have already received regulatory approval. Current laws require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and state regulators to deny veterans from using GI benefits at new secondary facilities for two years.
“Veterans serve our country with dignity and should not fall victim to bureaucratic red tape,” said Senator Tuberville. “I’m proud to support this legislation that expands opportunities for our veterans by making it easier for them to use their well-deserved GI benefits to find a good job. We need more truck drivers in our country, and should make it easier for veterans to enter the trucking industry.”
The legislation also received strong support from the Alabama Trucking Association.
“The trucking industry has a long legacy of supporting and embracing veterans as they transition back to civilian life,” said Alabama Trucking Association President and CEO Mark Colson. “Because of this, we wholeheartedly support the Veteran Improvement Commercial Driver License Act and applaud Senator Tuberville for his co-sponsorship of this legislation. Our nation’s veterans have made tremendous sacrifices for our country, and it’s our duty to ensure they have every opportunity for a successful civilian life. This legislation not only honors their service but also addresses a pressing issue in the trucking industry. The shortage of truck drivers is a significant challenge, affecting supply chains and delivery times nationwide. By removing unnecessary regulatory barriers, this bill will not only expand veterans’ access to quality CDL training but also help bridge the workforce gap in the trucking sector.”
As Alabama’s voice on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Senator Tuberville has supported commonsense legislation that improves quality of life for veterans, service members and their families. This Veteran Improvement Commercial Driver License Act is another targeted change to improve care and benefits for veterans, following Senator Tuberville’s Supporting Families of the Fallen Act and legislation to streamline Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, both of which were signed into law by President Joe Biden last year.
The trucking industry is currently facing a shortage of 80,000 drivers. Some estimates show this number could reach 160,000 by 2030. Trucking shortages have a ripple effect throughout our nation’s supply chains, worsening bottle necks and delaying delivery times.
It is estimated that 8,400 commercial driving programs are approved for use by eligible veterans under the GI bill.
Thelegislation would ensure CDL schools that offer courses at new branches do not have to wait two years if the primary institutions have been approved by the VA and State Approving Agencies to receive GI benefits. Clarifying this two-year moratorium statute will give veterans increased accessibility to nearby CDL schools and lead to high-paying careers in the trucking industry.
CDL schools must still comply with state and VA rules regarding curriculum standards to ensure no programs are exploiting veterans or offering fraudulent courses.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.