Today, U.S. Senators Scott Brown (R-MA) and Kay Hagan (D-NC), along with U.S. Representative Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), introduced the Hire A Hero Act of 2011.
The bipartisan, bicameral legislation provides tax credits to small businesses that hire a returning veteran or member of the National Guard or Reserve. Right now, the national unemployment rate is nearly 20 percent among Guard members.
Last year, the suicide rate among members of the National Guard and Reserve nearly doubled, going from 80 in 2009 to 146 in 2010, and recent investigations point to a lack of economic opportunities as one of the potential stressors of this growing and tragic problem.
"We must take care of our heroes not only when they are fighting to keep our country safe, but also when they return home," said Brown, who serves on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and is a 31-year member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard. "Our veterans sacrifice so much for us and ask for little in return. This bipartisan legislation will help put our heroes back to work, and I am proud to be introducing it along with my colleagues."
"In this tough economy, our Guard and Reserve service members and our veterans are struggling to find jobs," said Hagan. "This bipartisan bill will give businesses incentive to hire our heroes. North Carolina is the most military-friendly state in the nation, and as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am working to help connect returning heroes to employment opportunities. Senator Brown, Representative Jenkins and I will work together to advance this important bill in Congress."
"Due to their monthly service requirements and the possibility they could be called into service overseas, the American heroes in our National Guard and Reserve can be passed over for jobs. As it stands today, we provide tax incentivizes for the hiring of felons, but ignore many of the men and women who protect our nation's freedom," Jenkins said. "I am proud to join my colleagues in the Senate in introducing this commonsense legislation to support the men and women in the National Guard and Reserve."