Legislation to encourage small businesses to hire veterans was approved by a 406-1 House vote, bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Illinois) announced on his website.
“Today’s vote shows that bipartisanship still exists in the House of Representatives,” said Davis, who introduced the legislation in November. “The Hire More Heroes Act is a jobs bill that will not only encourage the hiring of veterans but will also allow businesses to expand and grow our economy without being penalized.”
The legislation encourages hiring by exempting veterans who already receive health insurance through the Department of Veterans Affairs or reservists covered under TRICARE from being counted toward 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 and is supported by the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, 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 shared it with 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 an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent.