U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-32) voted in favor of HR 674, legislation containing a windfall of new tax provisions to benefit veterans, just after Veteran's Day. This measure includes tax credits that will work to reduce homelessness and lower the high unemployment rate among our nation's honored veterans through tax credits to businesses that hire veterans and a variety of retraining programs for them when they return home.
"I was proud to support legislation that includes pieces of President Obama's jobs bill, the American Jobs Act, to provide significant tax breaks to businesses that hire veterans. It's our duty, pure and simple, to do all we can for our veterans. As a nation, we must promise that we will leave no veteran behind, and we must keep that promise to America's 24 million veterans, and 3 million troops and reservists. These provisions will help stop the epidemic of homeless veterans in this nation, and ease the transition back to civilian life by getting veterans back to work."
H.R. 674, was amended in the Senate to include many important improvements initially proposed in President Obama's American Jobs Act to aid America's veterans in transitioning to civilian life, attaining quality jobs, and preventing homelessness. One of the hallmarks of the legislation will create a new tax credit of $2,400 for companies hiring veterans who have been jobless at least four weeks, and $5,600 for hiring veterans out of work at least six months. It will also increase the existing tax credit to employers to $9,600 for hiring a disabled veteran unemployed for at least six months. Other major improvements include: a two year retraining program for veterans ages 35-60; mandatory participation in the Transition Assistance Program and additional services such as employment and training counseling, resume writing and career networking; one year of additional Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits for disabled veterans; grants to non-profit organizations offering employment training and mentoring to veterans; and an extension of the VA housing loan guarantee fee through October 1, 2016.
Veterans comprise approximately 8 percent of the total population, but are 15 percent of the homeless population, and unemployment among veterans since 9/11 is estimated between 12-22 percent, compared to the national average of 9 percent. 40,000 troops will be returning to the U.S. from Iraq at the end of December as a result of President Obama's announced full drawdown of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thousands more are still engaged in Afghanistan, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. California has the largest estimated total veteran population at 1.9 million. The 32nd District, which Congresswoman Chu represents, is home to an estimated 18,000 of those veterans.