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Mr. HOLT. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 674. The provisions contained in this amended legislation are a long time coming and I am pleased to see this body finally consider a measure that will have a tangible effect for Americans who are unemployed and underemployed. More importantly, these measures will help a particular group of Americans who I think we all agree deserve our full support: our Nation's veterans. Right now, men and women returning stateside from Iraq and Afghanistan face an unemployment rate of over 12 percent. Nearly a quarter of a million of recently returned veterans are jobless. This is unconscionable. If we can give our men and women the tools they need to succeed in combat, then certainly we must help them succeed when they return home. Moreover, veterans make excellent employees--I know because I have two working for me. Helping our veterans find jobs will put some of the finest men and women in the country into the American workforce. It's a win-win situation.
This measure provides tax credits for businesses who hire veterans--up to $5,600 if the veteran has been out of a job for more than six months. It also provides a $9,600 tax credit if the veteran has a service-connected disability. It expands Montgomery G.I. benefits for education and training opportunities for older veterans. And it includes provisions to encourage separating service members to seek employment in civilian federal service.
Madam Speaker, it is worth noting that many of these are measures that President Obama proposed in the American Jobs Act. I am pleased that we are considering these specific provisions today, but dozens of other provisions in the Jobs Act would help put an even greater number of veterans back to work: small business tax cuts, supporting teachers and first responders, rebuilding and expanding our infrastructure. We must do more, and by advancing the proposals currently idling in this body, we can do more.
I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this measure to help put our Nation's veterans back to work.
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