America's veterans deserve the same level of commitment that they have given to our country. John voted to increase funding for veterans' medical care, provide a pay-raise for our troops, support military family housing programs, and restore the promise of a full college education for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. With the VA reporting that one million active duty service members will join the ranks of America's 22 million veterans over the next five years, John is in full support of the President's budget request for $140 billion for the Veterans Administration. From medical care, disability payments, homelessness prevention, vocational rehab, education assistance and pensions, America owes a debt of gratitude to our veterans that we must honor to the fullest.
This past year John introduced President Obama's American Jobs Act, which includes a provision that gives employers tax incentives to hire veterans. This program will work to alleviate our high unemployment rate among veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. John was glad to see Congress come together in a bipartisan fashion to get this provision passed into law for our veterans and military families.
Locally and nationally, homelessness among veterans is a challenge. This past year John brought then-VA Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth to a local forum on veterans' homelessness, where she explained some of the steps the Obama administration has taken to address the issue. While the past two years have seen homelessness decrease amongst veterans by 10%, the overall number is still too high. Because of this, John takes every opportunity to support local projects like Veterans Crossing in East Hartford that provide transition assistance for homeless veterans.