This post is the second in a series that provides a deeper look into the more than 40 jobs bills Senate Democrats are blocking. Read the first post, on the Save American Workers Act, here.
Problem: In addition to the problems plaguing the VA, another persistent challenge our veterans face is finding a job in this tough economy. President Obama addresses the American Legion today at a time when the unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans has jumped to 9.2 percent, three percentage points higher than the national rate. That’s unacceptable as is, but with more servicemembers coming home from Afghanistan, “joblessness among this group is set to worsen.”
Our Solution: On March 11, 2014, the House passed the Hire More Heroes Act (H.R. 3474), a bill that makes it easier to hire veterans by exempting those who already have health insurance from being counted as full-time employees under the president’s health care law. If employers can hire veterans without worrying about triggering ObamaCare penalties, this will free them up to, in effect, hire more heroes. It’s a straightforward fix, and after the bill passed the House by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 406-1, Rep. Davis said:
“We know offering health care is costly for small businesses and the employer mandate in Obamacare has forced many to delay hiring, cut hours and in some cases reduce their payroll at a time when our economy is struggling to recover. So, it only makes sense to exempt veterans receiving health care through the VA from Obamacare’s employer mandate since they are clearly covered elsewhere and do not need employer-provided insurance.” (Full release here.)
Senate Inaction: Instead of following the House in acting quickly, Senate Democrats attached unrelated legislation to the Hire More Heroes Act and now it is stuck in that chamber. There is no indication of when the Senate will act.
Consequences: Senate Democrats’ failure to act has needlessly delayed a solution that would help boost the hiring of veterans and encourage small businesses to expand without being penalized. Republicans have highlighted this bill in our weekly address, and we’ll continue to press Washington Democrats to do the right thing for our veterans.
To learn more about this bill, read the full text, and see how your representative voted, visit speaker.gov/jobs.