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Senator Kaine vows to fight for military veterans, spouses

Big help could soon be on the way for military members, their families, and veterans.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WVEC) -- Big help could soon be on the way for military members, their families, and veterans.

Veterans' access to health care, and military spouses' ability to find jobs are key.

Unemployment for military spouses remains high. According to the Rand Corporations, for females age 26 to 30, the rate is 26 percent.

After meeting with military spouses in Hampton Roads earlier this year, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine has authored two bills to help close the gap.

"It would make it easier for federal agencies to expedite hiring of military spouses," he said. "Sometimes the best jobs around military bases are with other federal agencies. It's like a preference or expedited hiring for military spouses. Second, it would provide more ability for military spouses to do entrepreneurship on bases."

On another military-related issue, there is the new $52 billion V.A health care overhaul bill.

It expands upon the current V-A Choice program, by increasing outside medical care options for the nation's 21.8 million veterans.

V.A. officials would more easily be able to enter into partnerships with community health care providers to create a broader network of options for veterans.

The bill passed overwhelmingly last week in the House, and it now moves this week to the Senate. The vote is expected to take place on Wednesday. Kaine said he'll vote yes.

"We still have a lot more work to do in this area to make sure that the veterans that have borne the battle, and endured the sacrifice find that society meets the promises that were made to them, but I think this bill is a step in the right direction," he said.

Kaine also said he hopes Congress will "maintain forward motion towards a 355-ship Navy."

The Democrat said he hopes that effort will include, not only finding the funding to construct and maintain the ships, but to build the workforce to build those ships.

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