GOP drops veterans jobs bill into early House fights

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January 6, 2015
By Leo Shane III
From MilitaryTimes.com

House Republicans will use a veterans jobs bill to help launch their new congressional session and renew their attacks on the president’s health care priorities.

The measure, the Hire More Heroes Act, would allow businesses to hire veterans without having them count as full-time employees under the Affordable Care Act. Under the law, companies with 50 or more full-time workers must offer health insurance for their employees.

Supporters have argued the measure will encourage companies to hire more veterans and keep firms from cutting back on employees to stay under the 50-person mandate. House members approved the legislation last year, but the measure stalled in the Senate.

On Saturday, as part of the weekly Republican address, Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis said the measure will be reintroduced as part of the House’s initial slate of jobs bills, which he touted as “a great opportunity to grow our economy and put our nation on solid footing for a bright future.”

Veterans unemployment has fallen steadily since 2011, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and remained below national unemployment rates. But younger veterans have still struggled to find work, with jobless rates bouncing between 5 percent and 9 percent in 2014.

“Not only are we providing small businesses — and our economy — with much-needed relief, but we’re also helping more of our veterans find work,” Davis said in his address. “As more and more of these men and women return home, the Hire More Heroes Act will give them a better chance in a still-tough job market.”

The jobs bill flurry to start the new congressional session also includes consideration of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, another proposal passed by the House and stalled in the Senate.

House officials have not yet announced any timetable for voting on the jobs measures.

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