U.S. Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) issued the following statement today on the House passage of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act:
"This vote ensures that Rhode Island veterans and all of our nation's veterans will receive some of the tools and resources they need to successfully reenter the workforce and provide for their families and loved ones. With so many of our brave men and women in uniform set to return from Iraq and Afghanistan, we have to do everything we can to honor their service by guaranteeing they have all of the help they need, particularly in finding employment, securing housing, and accessing quality health care."
As the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans hovers at 12.1%, up from 10.6% last year, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act includes several provisions to create job opportunities for veterans. Businesses that hire veterans who have been out of work for more than six months will receive a tax credit of up to $5,600. They will also be eligible for a tax credit of up to $9,600 for hiring a veteran with a service-connected disability who has been unemployed for more than six months.
The bill also requires that service members participate in the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which offers valuable services including career counseling and resume workshops, as they transition back to the civilian workforce, and provides a year of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits for disabled veterans.
The VOW to Hire Heroes Act resulted from a compromise between House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller's (R-FL) Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act and Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs Chairwoman Patty Murray's (D-WA) Hiring Heroes Act, and includes elements of President Obama's American Jobs Act.
The VOW to Hire Heroes Act passed the Senate by a vote of 95-0 last week before passing the House 422-0 on Wednesday, November 16th. Cicilline sent an open letter to Speaker John Boehner after the Senate vote, urging him to hold a vote in the House.