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Capps Applauds House Passage of ‘Putting Veterans to Work’ Legislation

The bill calls for tax credits for businesses that hire unemployed and wounded veterans

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Wednesday applauded the passage of the bipartisan Putting Veterans to Work Act (House Resolution 674) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill seeks to combat high unemployment among the nation’s Iraq and Afghanistan veterans by providing tax credits to businesses that hire unemployed veterans and wounded warriors, a part of President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act.

Businesses would receive a credit of $2,400 for hiring a veteran who has been looking for work for up to six months, and $5,600 for hiring a veteran who has been looking for work for more than six months. Businesses that hire a veteran with a service-related disability would receive a credit of $9,600.

The legislation passed the House by a vote of 421-0 and has the support of numerous veterans groups, including the American Legion and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. The Senate approved H.R. 674 last week by a vote of 95-0. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law later this week.

“Our military men and women face too many obstacles when they come home and begin looking for civilian work. They and their families have made tremendous sacrifices for our country, and we owe it to them to do what we can to make their transition easier,” Capps said. “This bipartisan bill will help to reduce unemployment among our veterans. It’s time to work in the same bipartisan way to create jobs for every unemployed American.”

The Putting Veterans to Work Act would also make improvements to existing programs, such as the Transition Assistance Program designed to help returning service members reintegrate into civilian life. The bill implements new strategies to address high unemployment among the nation’s veterans, including providing one year of additional Montgomery GI benefits to go toward education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools. Currently, the unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is higher than the national average at 11.7 percent, up from 9.8 percent in August. In California, veterans’ unemployment rate is even higher at 12.4 percent.

Capps was also pleased that the legislation directs the Department of Labor to work with states to identify barriers that prevent veterans from being credentialed or licensed in fields that utilize their military skills. These jobs would include paramedics and aircraft technicians.

Earlier this year, Capps introduced legislation to make it easier and faster for veterans who served as medics to earn certification as civilian emergency medical technicians. She continues to push the congressional leadership to consider her bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives in the 111th Congress. Click here for more information about the legislation.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

 
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