WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) released the following statement after bipartisan legislation he introduced in the House to incentivize small businesses to hire veterans while at the same time providing them relief from the Affordable Care Act moved one step closer to becoming law after the Senate voted 96-3 to invoke cloture on a motion to proceed on the bill.
“The Hire More Heroes Act was overwhelmingly approved in the House, so I’m extremely pleased that the Senate has joined the fight to move this bipartisan jobs bill forward,” said Davis. “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.
“I’m humbled by the support that we’ve seen for this legislation, especially from my friends Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in the House and Sen. Roy Blunt in the Senate, and hope the Senate moves quickly on final passage to get this commonsense bill to the president’s desk.”
Background: H.R. 3474, the Hire More Heroes Act, incentivizes small businesses to hire veterans by exempting veterans who already receive health insurance through the Department of Veterans Affairs or reservists covered under TRICARE from being counted towards the number of employees required by the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act. The employer mandate is a requirement that all businesses with more than 50 full-time employees provide health insurance to their employees or pay a fee.
The legislation has 37 co-sponsors in the House, 39 co-sponsors in the Senate, and is supported by the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), the only military service association representing the interests of every enlisted soldier and airmen in the Army and Air National Guard, and The Retired Enlisted Association, a Congressionally-charted veterans’ service organization and the largest association in the nation of enlisted retirees and veterans from all branches of the Armed Forces.
Bradley A. Lavite, Superintendent of the Madison County Veteran's Assistance Commission, came up with the idea for the legislation and had it shared with Rep. Davis at a Veterans Advisory Board meeting on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in November.
Currently, there are 8 million veterans receiving health care through the VA system, and every service member returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has the option of signing up for health care through the VA.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment among veterans is at 6.3 percent, slightly lower than the national average. However, veterans who have served since 9/11 are facing a much higher unemployment rate of 9.2 percent.
The Hire More Heroes Act was approved by the House by a vote of 406-1 on Tuesday, March 11, and now awaits final action in the Senate.