This evening, Congressman Joe Donnelly voted for H.R. 674, which includes provisions from the Hiring Heroes Act and VOW Act designed to promote hiring veterans and giving them the training and education they need to be competitive job seekers.
"When I traveled to Afghanistan in 2009, I asked Hoosier servicemembers there what I could do for them," Donnelly said. "Instead of equipment or food, which I anticipated, they told me, "Joe, we need a job when we get home.' We must honor their service by doing what we can to incentivize hiring veterans and by ensuring they have the training they need to compete for and get good jobs."
While the national unemployment rate is 9%, the unemployment rate for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is 12.1%. To help address this disparity, the legislation would provide up to a $2,400 tax credit to companies that hire a veteran who has been looking for work for at least four weeks. Businesses that hire a veteran who has been looking for a job for at least six months would get up to a $5,600 tax credit. Also, the bill would give employers up to a $9,600 tax credit for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for work for more than six months.
Additionally, the bill would expand and improve education and job training programs for veterans. The legislation would make the Transition Assistance Program, a workshop coordinated by the Departments of Defense, Labor, and Veterans Affairs, mandatory for servicemembers moving on to civilian life. The program includes resume writing workshops and career counseling. Also, the bill would expand education and training opportunities for veterans of past eras and wars by providing 100,000 unemployed veterans with up to one year of additional Montgomery GI benefits toward education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools. The legislation would also offer disabled veterans up to one year of additional Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits.
The veterans-related provisions in this bill are supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paralyzed Veterans Association, and the American Legion. It passed the House with bipartisan, unanimous support, 422 to 0, and will now be sent to the president for his signature.