As we’ve reported, conservative-led Senate filibusters have blocked consideration of a series of job creation measures over the past few weeks: President Obama’s comprehensive American Jobs Act, a bill to keep teachers and first responders on the job, and a bill to create jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. These investments would have been paid for with a modest tax increase on income above one million — which explains much of the opposition.
Finally, it looks as though a jobs measure might come to a vote — and might actually get through the Senate. Tomorrow, the day before Veterans’ Day, the Senate is expected to vote on an amendment, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, that would help veterans find work. That’s good news for returning veterans, both male and female.
Post-9/11 veterans are struggling to find jobs and women veterans in particular are having a tough time. In 2010, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans averaged 11.5 percent, but the rate for women post-9/11 veterans was even higher at 12.0 percent. Post-9/11 women veterans had higher unemployment than their male post-9/11 veteran counterparts, non-veteran adult women, and non-veteran adult men in 2010.
The VOW to Hire Heroes Act would:
- Provide transition assistance to help service members prepare for and find civilian employment before leaving the military;
- Offer tax credits of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months, as well as a $2,400 credit who have been unemployed between 4 weeks and 6 months and a $9,600 tax credit for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for work for more than six months;
- Expand education and training opportunities for older veterans; and
- Provide disabled veterans up to one year of additional vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits.
But sadly, in paying for these measures, Congress let millionaires and billionaires off the hook yet again. Instead, the veterans’ jobs measures would be paid for by extending fees on certain veterans’ home loans.
The women and men who have served the nation in the military deserve help finding jobs (and, since Senate filibusters have blocked measures that would have boosted employment overall, they’ll certainly need it). But we can’t help wondering: if it had come down to a choice between jobs for veterans and protecting millionaires and billionaires from a tiny tax increase, what would have happened?