Heard on the Hill

Senators want more Hill opportunities for wounded veterans

McCain-Mansfield program would create two-year Senate fellowship similar to House

Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama is proposing a fellowship program in the Senate for wounded veterans.  (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sens. Doug Jones and Mike Rounds want to expand a program started in the House that gives wounded veterans an opportunity to work in congressional offices.

The two introduced a resolution just before Veterans Day that would establish the McCain-Mansfield Fellowship, a two-year program giving each Senate office a “wounded warrior” to serve as a fellow in a state or Washington, D.C. office.

[Capitol Christmas tree almost ready to get lit!]

“We owe a great deal to the men and women who have courageously served our country,” Jones said after introducing the resolution. “The McCain-Mansfield Fellowship program is just one of the ways we can continue to lift up our veterans and ensure they have access to the resources and support needed to be successful in their civilian lives.”

The program is named in honor of late former Sens. John McCain, an Arizona Republican wounded during the Vietnam War, and Mike Mansfield, a Montana Democrat and World War I veteran who was majority leader. It would be modeled after the House’s Wounded Warrior Fellowship Program, which was created in 1995.

To qualify under the House program, veterans must have been honorably discharged, released from active duty within the last five years, and have a 20 percent or greater service-connected disability rating.

Almost 200,000 service members transition from the military back to civilian life each year, according to the senators. They often face physical and mental health challenges that make the switch more difficult. Jones said the Senate experience would give fellows a leg up by broadening their career opportunities and making the transition smoother.

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