Tester, Baucus VETs Act picks up support in the House

Senators' war on veterans' unemployment gains momentum

(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus secured support for their Veterans Employment Transition Act or “VETS Act” in the U.S. House of Representatives this week. Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania and Rep. Scott Peters of California introduced Tester and Baucus’s Senate bill in the House, greatly boosting the bill’s chances of passing this Congress.

Tester and Baucus introduced the VETs Act as their first bill on the 113th Congress, after Baucus “declared war” on veterans unemployment during a speech to the Montana State Legislature in January.

“Preparing veterans to use their military skills in civilian jobs honors their service and makes it easier to transition to life back home,” said Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This bill strengthens our commitment to our fighting men and women so they can provide for their families and enjoy the freedoms they fought so hard to protect.”

“Creating jobs must be our number one focus in Congress, and there is no better place to start than with our veterans. This bill is something everyone can support, and having the House on board adds a lot of momentum to our work to get it done,” Baucus said. “Every single veteran deserves to come home to a paycheck, not an unemployment check. Already, the unemployment rate of our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is shameful. As more and more veterans begin returning home from Afghanistan, we’ve got to do all we can to make sure they are greeted with the good-paying jobs they deserve.”

Tester and Baucus have a long history of working together to tackle veterans unemployment, and the VETs Act will:

1. Increase opportunities for veterans to transfer military skills into the civilian workforce;
2. Support small businesses owned by disabled veterans;
3. Make it easier for businesses to get tax credits for hiring recently discharged veterans; and
4. Hold government agencies accountable for delivering results for veterans.

Learn more about the VETs Act and read what Montanans are saying HERE.

According to the Joint Economic Committee, unemployment for Montana veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan fell from 20.3 percent in 2010 to 17.5 percent in 2011. Still, 1,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were unemployed in Montana in 2011, and 234,000 nationwide. Montana has one of the highest rate of veterans per capita in the nation.