The House on Wednesday moved forward on legislation that will provide tax credits to businesses that hire veterans, and will eliminate an onerous new provision that would require a 3 percent tax withholding from all payments to contractors working for federal, state or local governments. The legislation was enthusiastically supported by Congressman Jerry Lewis as a bi-partisan effort to help create new jobs.
"I am delighted that Congress is working on these measures to help our veterans and small businesses gain some stability in our continuing economic turmoil," Lewis said. "The House passed versions of these bills more than a month ago. I hope that the Senate takes notice that Congress can get these kinds of economic recovery packages done if they work in a bipartisan fashion."
Lewis urged President Obama to quickly sign the bill and get the new policies in place.
"We have more than 900,000 veterans out of work, and the unemployment rate for those who served in the war against terror is more than 12 percent -- and that is a national tragedy," Lewis said. "It is urgent that we find ways to create more jobs for these defenders of our freedom."
The bill considered Wednesday -- H.R. 674 -- would provide extended GI Bill benefits to 100,000 unemployed veterans from past eras, to help them find employment in high-demand jobs such as trucking and technology. It will ensure that all veterans leaving the military benefit from the Transition Assistance Program and other transition programs that help them make a smooth and successful transition. Finally, it would provide new tax credits to companies that hire out-of-work veterans and disabled veterans.
In addition to the veteran's employment provisions, the bill would repeal an extremely unpopular provision that would have required governments at all levels to withhold 3 percent from contract payments to ensure that federal taxes are paid