Veterans Preference

DOD Pushes Senate Republicans To Gut Veterans Preference

Veterans Preference

Top DOD brass pushed Senator John McCain, chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee, to gut veterans preference for specialized, hard to fill positions.

To accomplish this, Senate Republicans put forth hiring language that would restrict veterans preference for federal jobs to only the first job. After you use it the first time, you lose it forever. So, you better pick the best job you can get. If you guess wrong, then you lose out.

I am highly suspicious of this issue since it seems to have been slipped into national defense spending without much discussion. And, the problem was relayed by high brass within DOD.

Since when do Americans believe much of anything when it leaks out of DOD like a fart in church? This was not an announcement but instead some kind of backdoor dealing.

Does anyone else smell a stinky rat in the woodpile? Since when do we trust DOD to present anything to the American public in an honorable and transparent manner?


As in the past, Sen. McCain (R-Az) was more than happy to comply with an anti-veteran position and is working to push through legislation to end veterans preference. The new bill included with the defense spending bill allows a veteran to have one shot using the preference. Once they use it and are hired, they lose the preference.

RELATED: Senate Votes To Scale Back Veterans Preference

According to a statement from Sen. McCain:

“We must balance the goals of rewarding those who are eligible for a federal hiring advantage with the needs of the federal government and notably the Department of Defense to attract and hire the best talent for a variety of important national security jobs,” the senator said in a statement.

The defense bill “achieves this balance by ensuring veterans still have the ability to get a foot in the door for federal civilian employment, after which they stand on merit,” McCain said.

The Washington Post cited a DOD a Capital Hill aide, saying:

But Defense Department officials have told senators that pressure to hire veterans is forcing them to fill some jobs in procurement, acquisitions, science and technical offices with former service members when a non-veteran may be a better fit, Senate aides said.

“This was considered the best way to capture the intent to tweak the policy without causing emotional alarm, a step to get the conversation going,” said a Senate aide involved in negotiations over the change who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Apparently, Senate Republicans are sure the intent of President Obama’s veterans preference initiative was not to be broad an impactful.

But since when do Senate Republicans know anything about what Obama was thinking? Congress and the President have been largely deadlocked during these past terms.

Does anyone else find the solution to this supposed problem questionable? How will limiting veterans preference to only a one shot deal truly ensure the best candidates are available to DOD?

Or, is DOD trying to load up on civilians without military experience for some other kind of purpose, and using the issue as a red herring to screw veterans and the American public?

If DOD truly wanted more qualified soldiers, then they should do everything in their power to ensure we are the best trained in performing both military and civilian operations.


Put a different way, the issue here, according to McCain and the aide, is that the policy is designed to help more qualified non-veterans compete equally with veterans. To accomplish the goal, they will restrict veterans preference to a one shot opportunity. Once you use it, you lose it.

Now how does this affect the overall problem as stated by DOD officials? Won’t positions still exist where a veteran applies for his or her first time, and beats out someone who is a non-veteran but a better fit?

Doesn’t a veterans preference as it stands right now create an incentive to ensure the military better trains military personnel for civilian jobs?

Over the years, I have noticed that McCain chides against initiatives that encourage active duty personnel to leave the services for better paying civilian alternatives. Some of you might recall that McCain voted against the Post 9/11 GI Bill because he thought it would encourage enlisted soldiers to exit the military.

Since he was unsuccessful in winning on that front, perhaps eroding the veterans preference set in place by Obama is a next best thing?


According to veteran and former bureaucrat Jeffrey Neal, this plan is flawed because of the high turnover rate amongst veterans from their first federal job.

Neal, a former DOD human resources leader turned senior VP for ICF International, says it takes a while for veterans to find an agency that is a right fit. For that reason, the veterans preference entitlement should not be a one shot fix.

RELATED: Veteran Preference In Federal Hiring Third Rail Of Reform


For example, VA hires a lot of veterans as janitors. But lets say that janitor just needed a job while finishing college to do something bigger. Under this new proposed legislation, he would lose his ability to use veterans preference when he is done with college.


The Senate plan is the first change to the high-profile veterans hiring initiative created under the Obama Administration.

Meanwhile, numerous Democrats in the House of Representatives are trying to counter the move.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Az), a Marine Corps veteran, has proposed a counter. His bill would amend a financial services spending bill that would bar federal money from being used to revise policy to alter veterans preference in federal hiring.

Gallego’s bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Az), Pete Aguilar (D-Ca) and Mark Takano (D-Ca). It was also endorsed by numerous veterans groups.

How is that for the current election cycle? As your lawmakers return home to gather votes and election money, be sure to get your voice heard on veterans preference.

This is one initiative of Obama’s that I definitely like. I am not surprised to see McCain come out in favor of totally gutting something that no doubt benefited thousands of disabled veterans.


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  1. I have used the Veteran preference more than once. I took a Term (get my foot in the door) position with one agency and when the four years was about up – I used it again to get a permanent job with another agency. The only way you move up the ladder in pay with the Federal Government is to compete nationwide against every citizen in America. The preference does not get you the job – it gets you an interview. You still must be qualified to do the job.

    What I found offensive with the DoD augment is that we Veterans get hassled by the non-Veterans since we get a preference. This did happen even from our superiors but that’s for me to deal with – I shrugged the hell off. I was serving my country while they were partying in their college dorms and guess what – I am bugged by the fact they got a ten year head start on me because I chose to serve with the Marines.

    1. Right on.! When I tried to get a job before I went into the service after graduating top of my class I was told come back in 2-3 years if I am alive they would think about it. But they also said if they hired me before I entered the service they would have to hire me back and they wouldn’t do that either! For veterans get the shaft no matter which way. What about 100% disable dav veterans which I am one and my wife is entitled to some points for that. She is an ER doctor as well as a Nurse, etc. the VA hired her once here in Spokane, so she gave her notice from her employer then when she showed up for work she was told that the funding was cut for the position and she did not have a job.
      She had to go through all of tbe background check, fingerprinting etc. which she passed essilyn she had worked for Langley before and already went through all of it.

      Now they cut the ER here in Spokane because they couldn’t hire any doctors because of tbe low wages. Well that was bull . She had to apply for her own job back and lost
      A lot in the process. Because the VA system doesn’t work!

      I know more then they do and I have over 30% brain loss , and all of the mental issues that go with PTSD etc. and I know better and more than they do. And I am unemployable

      1. Having a traumatic brain injury. Many people think were crazy and treat us like that.

        With TBI. We are at a disadvantage with some things. But one thing were not is stupid.

        Yes. Many Veterans with TBI. Have memory problems and we must keep things in order or were lost.

        That does not mean it’s ok. For the VA to abuse us. Many Veterans know what’s going on. More than employees.

        Many on this site have told their stories and I did not knowing was happening and afterwards I felt sick to my stomach.

        Ashamed to say I was an employee !

  2. Everyone was up in arms when Trump made comments about McCain. Remember, McCain knew a year in advance before the Phoenix scandal broke and he did nothing. This guy is just another career politician that has become rich on the backs of taxpayers and veterans.

  3. Ben, I think you need to clarify what the change is that Obama implemented, and how that is different than veterans preference through many years.
    Did he change vets preference to allow it to be used more than once? Can it be used more than once in the same agency? Or only if the vet goes to another agency?
    I have a friend who has been in a federal agency, and I asked him about this. He said throughout his career of more than 25 years that his vets preference only counted once…To get in federal service. He said he was told several times for other jobs within the same agency that his vets preference did not apply.
    He also said it didn’t matter…that if there was an opening for a widget maker that hiring officials would just advertise it under more than one job announcement. He said all vets are lumped under one announcement, and everybody else is lumped under another. He said if they pick from the vets announcement, they had to pick the top qualified vet. If they pick from the “civilian” announcement, they can pick the top qualified, and ignore the vets announcement completely.
    I also thought OPM had a web site on vets preference, and it only applied once, but I forgot to ask him about this.
    As for any change whatsoever, and the ability to pick the top qualified non vet, they are ignoring A LOT of history. I’ve read a lot about vets preference, and one of the reasons for it that is stated in everything I’ve read is that vets preference gives a veteran an advantage because of the “lost” time spent serving instead of going to college to get qualified.
    I do agree though, McCain wasn’t pressured into anything on this. McCain and others are allowing this, and it’s a slap in the face to every vet who put off college to serve.

    1. I work for the DOD and the real issue isn’t Veteran’s Preference. The real issue is that a lot of high ranking Officers retirees as LT. Colonel’s, Colonel’s and General’s who have their buddies hold a GS-14,15 and SES position for them when they make the switch to civilian service. I am prior enlisted and I agree that isn’t right. I can see why a Non-Veteran who has served 30 years trying to get promoted could get annoyed when a high ranking officer laterals from their military position to a civilian position after they retire. Let’s be honest. The Phoenix VA was under McCain’s watch. What do you expect from a guy who calls himself a Maverick, but falls in line with the rest of bureaucrats.

      What I would say to Congress and the Senate would be the same line John Snow delivered to Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones, “Yes, you have the numbers, but will your men fight for you when they find out you won’t fight for them?”

  4. Although I never used a Veteran Preference, I do see it as a recruitment tool and a benefit which many have used. To give service to your country while another is merrily going along in their career is a primary reason the preference should stand beyond the first job. That doesn’t end at the first job. The delay of starting a career with others having a three, or more years head start is a life long handicap in many career fields where how many years experience could then be the sole criteria for being hired.

    Maybe the whole idea behind this, and other benefit reductions, is to see how much we can discourage patriotic young people to serve their country?

  5. Considering the DOD hires a lot of their relatives in acquisitions through back door processes who are less qualified in vets. They should look into stoping nepotism first before undercutting us veterans.

    1. IF. They would look close at the people hired a very high number of the employees. Would be related or someone’s good friend son/daughter and so it goes on and on. Until the system is controlled by those type of employees and here we are. !

      See how high it goes into the VA anarchy. ! And they will attack and try and do destroy other employees lives and veterans. !

      They don’t care who you are. If they don’t like you or you rub them the wrong way? They will retaliate. !

      Some have the God syndrome or the devil syndrome and another person’s well being does not count !

  6. I agree with you, Ben. Vets should not lose that veteran’s preference, especially for disabled vets, no matter how many times it is used. Looking at it from a female perspective, if a female vet gets a federal job, then resigns it for ten years to raise her kids, she should still be able to use the veteran preference to return to a federal position.

  7. McCain and Kerry fought Agent Orange and the search for POW’s in the 80’s, Fought Gulf war Syndrome, Supported the
    “well grounded claim rule” of the 80 and 90’s LIke the Bush’s hides behind the flag while he stabs us in the back. I know Clinton and Obama could care less but at least they are up front about it.

    1. @Ed
      Obama and Clinton have never “…been up front…”with anything.
      Both are “compulsive liars!” The differences between the Bush’s, Kerry, McCain and Clinton and Obama is, the aforementioned hide it better!
      We see this almost every day on the “Liberal Controlled MSM news reports and all “Liberal Controlled MSM (‘opinion type’) talk shows!”
      Almost every day we hear where these “shows” put out opinions leaning toward the Democratic left wing liberal agendas! Kinda like a;
      “Left-wing (Radical) Conspiracy Theory!”
      Hey, what’s good for the goose, etc.!

  8. gee, @Ben & vets, what in the world is this country becoming!?

    >>The defense bill “achieves this balance by ensuring veterans still have the ability to get a foot in the door for federal civilian employment, after which they stand on merit,” McCain said.

    YOU sir, have NO merit to stand on! go out to the pasture where sellouts graze. your time has gone.

    will the DOD then start hiring more H-xx visa types versus veterans, or is that type work-visa not permissible at DOD?

    our corrupt fed gov seems hell bent on mass ingress migration and globalization. appears they favor them over American veterans. their actions vs words certainly suggests that, yes? adn guess they dismissed brexit as meaningless just as they dismiss the military arm of Islam, ISIS (or any of the other variant names it guises under), as desperate.

    bizarro indeed!

  9. Oh, there they go! Stripping our benefits from us with out any notice up front, behind closed doors in the middle of the night.

    Do you expect more from these career politicians?

    1. Well they promised us a number of things then they take them away. That is taxation without representation! They lie even about their own regulations! I had to even fight with the FBI. For my name was put on the national list for not being able to purchases or own a weapon. I had to argue with them over three times when I won various weapons with a number of groups (NRA, ducks Unlimited, RMED) and had to wait until they said they made a mistake, they didnt even take my name off of the list even though they are required to do by their own rules. I have kept all paperwork and correspondence with them. I was even working for the federal government who issued me various firearms, had numerous background checks, had the right to have a loaded weapon in my vehicle, shoot from the vehicle etc. in my work. I was just waiting for the next foot to drop and Evan contacted a friend who was the ex chief of police for San Francisco to see if he could have someone look into it but no record. I wanted an police officer to find me with an weapon and have me arrested for it so I could laugh all the way to the Bank.
      For the FBI wouldn’t do their job, lied to me and the public on which laws they follow.
      I am so. Upset with being screwed by numerous agencies I can’t stand it anymore. I am glad I can control myself. Am I responsible for my actions if the VA declares me mentaly incompetent. When they are the ones who are incompetent. This comes from the Brain Damaged one? Even I know more then they do with over 30% brain loss due to TBI.
      And I had to pay for my over 3 weeks ICU stay in a comma! And use up all of my retirement funds and they even had the gull to charge me 10% penalty for early withdrawal,

      There should be a law! To be able to sue for their actions and the damage it has taken on my ability to function from causing additional grand mal seizures!

      1. They are doing the same thing to me ! Didn’t know I had a TBI for 40 year’s. !

        Also a former employee. !

        I think.I know how you feel. At least it explains why. I was getting migraines. !

        They. The disruptive committee. Will place any veteran they want to. Proof (not required) !

        Memory loss. ! That hurts when you children ask you Do you remember some thing that was special to them and you not remember. !

        This. Committee is illegal. For punishing veterans and keep the lie going. !

        Letting the employee making the false claim of disruptive behavior. Answer every inquiry herself. !

        Admit they have no proof ? Lie to the senator’s office telling them they. Never punished me and they have kept the flag on and will not fix it. !
        Senator’s. Bennett’s office said they can only make inquires and can’t tell them to correct it. !

        It’s just crazy. These people are dangerous. !

        Good luck to all of us!

  10. I used to wonder why Ben was a little testy sometimes about the VA….VocRehab and Congress. That is until I got into the VocRehab program and started experiencing the things Ben has been shouting about for years. And…I started reading this website regularly.
    Honest to God….I simply CANNOT believe the abuse that goes on behind closed doors. Things that us disabled veterans cannot do anything about….at least for the time being.
    After my experience (recently) with Voc Rehab and reading crap like this…I GET it. It’s not just sickening…its abuse. This does NOTHING for us disabled veterans. In fact…It aggravates our condition because it makes us feel so damned powerless. Even hopeless sometimes.
    I could go on and on….but this is *sickening*. Thank you Ben for keeping us up on this stuff.

    1. I think most people have the same thinking and must change. ! If it does not effect me directly. It’s just a passing thought!

      We as a people. Have to stand together and not sit on the side lines. Hoping someone else will take care of the problem. !

      Assemble. In Washington. !
      Now or never.?

  11. I’ve always known McCain puts partisan politics over the needs of vets. He’s always been a stooge for the Republicans. They made a fool out of him when he ran against Bush, but then he beheld himself to the same crowd after that was done to him…..As far as this veteran preference goes; it’s eventually going to get to where being a veteran means nothing at all. I would like to see young people quit volunteering for the military. Make them bring back the draft. Yeah! Then we’ll see again all the fun that’s going to cause when young people start revolting against the draft again and puts the politicians through a sweat….I’ll just sit back and laugh and say, there’s your deja vu, grin and bear it!

  12. If we rely on McCain to do anything right for Veterans, you may be in for a long wait. Wether it’s about jobs or fixing a horrible Choice Program he called his baby. If Choice is his baby, he needs to be arrested for neglect and abuse. I’m still waiting for him to fix the fact that Choice gives you no choice. For those suffering with spasticity and the pain and tightness it causes in your body, forget about massage therapy, that the VA calls approved approved for pain relief. The problem is since Tri-West Choice took over you can’t get massage therapy, because it has to be done under a Physical Therapist office. I have written and talked to his office about it, because those are 2 different occupations with 2 different licenses and they never work together. So even though I had been getting massage therapy for a couple of years before this screw up, I can’t get it any more because of this stipulation. His office blames it on Congress, but McCain takes every media chance he gets to brag about a broken system until you point out the broken parts. Then he has nothing to do with it. Good luck with him working on sufficient jobs for Veterans. Good luck all. By the way my Claim for Damages against them is in its 3rd month of review. I can’t wait to be able to go to court so I can get the evidence out there on what is really happening at our VA’s. Will keep you all updated. Tim

  13. The Republicans also stripped the medical marijuana amendment for veterans with PTSD, in the middle of the night without warning as well.

  14. Maybe McCain. Needs a few more years at the Hilton. To remind him of the other veterans whom had traumatic events happen in the service. !

    If. It weren’t for him being a POW. I don’t think he would be where he is now. !

    My. How time And money can change a former prisoner of war into one of the very people punished him. !

    No difference. !

  15. @Ben or anyone else.

    Has anyone heard anything more on the “Mandatory Vaccinations” for veterans, which was passed through the Senate last year?

    1. Shit f that this sob ain’t playing that. Hope you don’t either. Hell they like calling the VA cops on me anyways. They’ll have a reason to then.

    2. Trump just says what all of us just want to express our outrage of how our current system isn’t working! Just like banning Muslims from entering the US. He as well the rest of us are fed up with how we allow others to step upon us because we are a nation of acceptance to a point of it is hurting us. Well I am as mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more! My toes have been steeped on too many times. I had to argue too many times with agencies taking away my $ and rights without due process. Where are my rights?

  16. Anything “Songbird McCain” does(n’t do) for veterans, doesn’t surprise me!
    And before I forget, anything Congress, both Democrats AND Republicans, does to screw vets also doesn’t surprise me!
    When was the last time anyone held Congress in High Esteeme?
    Only those who financially benefit gives a crap about what actually transpires in Washington!
    The “Common Folk”, mostly the “middle class taxpayers” and veterans, are constantly being screwed by these ingrates! (ie; “NAFTA” AND now “TPP” trade imbalances! Why do y’all think Obama and “Kowardly Kerry” went to Vietnam and other Asian countries lately!)
    Congressman/women and Senators only care about their own financial income!
    I’ll bet this “McCain bill” will allow for more ‘NEPOTISM’ all across the government agency spectrum!
    As if America hasn’t seen enough of this during the past 40 plus years!


    Here’s something the wife just “opinioned” about McCain!

    When “Songbird McCain” returned after being a POW. His “reputation” wasn’t that great. As a matter of fact, it was downright tarnished, or in the crapper! Hell, if y’all remember, Nixon had to pardon him!
    With this hanging over his head. What would he be able to do as far as ’employment’? Could, (or did), he work in the Private Sector? If not, then what or where would he “fit in”?
    Do y’all see where this is leading? Using his “status” as a POW, possibly government employment – more specifically – running for a political office could be his “nich”!
    Being a POW just might garner him lots of votes. Especially from civilians who are/were unaware of his past (mis)deeds!
    Only instead of helping veterans, (because of how he was treated by his “fellow POW’s” and other veterans), would/could lead him to be as corrupt as the entity he pretended to fight against! Namely the VA!
    This might be the “WHY” behind his not wanting to stand by veterans?!?!?
    I do remember when McCain was running for POTUS. Many veterans and taxpayers said, “What does being a POW have anything to do with the qualifications of being a President?”
    Think about that statement. Could this be another “WHY” he screws vets any and every chance he gets?

    1. John Mcain has never done anything to help us vets in my humble opinion and since he’s giving my boy Donald Trump a bad time. Let it be known that I would have not LET myself be captured even though it was my job to get you stupid college boys out. Vets don’t need you, go home and die!!!

    2. So, you might say McCain used his veterans preference repeatedly to get elected and reelected, and did a shitty closed door deal to deny that to others to help his donors.
      Maybe he’s pissed off his veterans preference was rejected when he ran for POTUS.

  17. So, Vets seeing that FIRST VA janitorial job better REALLY WANT the AFGE scraps tossed to them AND BE HAPPY WITH IT…forever? How is this ANY different than the way the VA and AFGE currently screws Vets looking for a VA or Fed. Job? Just a matter of polite semantics this time before they ask you to end over?

    So, Songbird McCain can be awake and willing to strip away Veteran’s Preference to barely preferred BUT YET, McCain cannot be BOTHERED to FIGHT for DYING VETS in his own State’s VAMC?
    Go back to sleep McCain, you are more effective that way. Hell, just retire already. My cat could fill his position and be more effective AND speak FOR Vets!!

  18. Pure partisan politics….If Obama did it, it must be bad…McCain constantly chips away against anything that benefits Vets…

    1. And why in God’s name is the DOD Squawking about it? They never worried about have the ” Best and the Brightest” before…MUST be an ulterior motive…like trying to get cushy DOD jobs for their kids and friends but being thwarted by Vets preference rules?

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