Late yesterday, Representative Scott Peters (CA-52), along with his colleague Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), introduced the Veteran Employment Transition (VETS) Act, which would include allowing employers to claim a new, streamlined $2,400 credit when they hire a recently discharged veteran. The bipartisan bill has received wide support in the House and Senate, where a companion bill is making its way through committee, and from well-respected national veterans' organizations including Veterans of Foreign Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and the American Legion.
"Men and women who have served our country with honor and distinction are still struggling to find a job after leaving the military, often with exceptional leadership and job skills that we desperately need in the American workforce," Congressman Peters said. "This bill encourages employers to seek out unemployed veterans, and encourages greater opportunities for our men and women who have served our nation honorably and bravely.
Rep. Peters continued, "The VETS Act also incentivizes businesses to hire veterans by paring down the application process for recently discharged vets, and makes it easier for disabled vets who are working towards business ownership and self-employment to start their own ventures."
Alex Nicholson, Legislative Director for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, stated, "After fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, too many veterans are returning home and fighting an unnecessary battle: struggling to find employment. IAVA is proud to support Rep. Peters' bill, the Veteran Employment Transition Act, which would make it easier for business owners across the country to fill job openings with hard-working and battle-tested veterans by providing monetary or tax incentives to potential employers. For years our veterans have demonstrated their abilities on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan and this bill will help our newest veterans transition into the civilian life they have earned."
In a statement, American Legion National Commander Jim Koutz said, "The American Legion is a strong supporter of reintegration programs for our returning veterans and has passed a variety of resolutions to ask Congress for their assistance in instituting programs like this. The American Legion supports passage of this legislation and applauds the leadership of Reps. Peters and Schwartz in addressing this critical issue facing our nation's servicemembers and veterans."
The VETS Act strengthens our commitment to improving the often burdensome transition for servicemembers to the civilian workforce. In addition to the new work opportunity tax credits, the bill does a number of other things to help veterans succeed: it expands an existing Department of Defense Program that makes it easier to obtain civilian certifications for skills that veterans already possess, calls for better coordination between the six veterans unemployment programs at the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Labor, and seeks to increase the number of contracts awarded by the executive branch to disabled veteran owned small businesses.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Executive Director Robert Wallace stated, "With more than one million veterans expected to leave the military and enter the workforce in coming years, we are pleased to offer support for this bill. The VFW appreciates Rep. Peters' and Schwartz's leadership on this issue and their continued commitment to America's military and veterans."