US Senate approves job benefits for veterans - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

US Senate approves job benefits for veterans


On Veterans Day eve, an uncharacteristically unified Senate emphatically passed a bill to help unemployed veterans and government contractors that includes the first, small slivers of President Barack Obama's jobs agenda that he is likely to sign into law.

The legislation would hire disabled veterans who have been job-hunting for at least half a year and strengthen employment counseling and training programs for vets and troops about to leave the military.

It also would erase a law, yet to take effect, requiring federal, state and local government agencies to withhold 3 percent of their payments to companies with which they conduct business.  That law was enacted under President George W. Bush to nudge companies to fully pay their taxes, but lawmakers now say it would fence off money those firms could better use to hire more workers.

The House is expected to approve the bill resoundingly next week, which would send it to Obama.

The president's signature would make the veterans tax credits the first fragment of his $447 billion jobs package to be enacted.  Those tax credits would cost $90 million over the next decade, according to White House estimates.  Obama also has supported annulling the withholding requirement on contractors' payments.

There are about 240,000 unemployed veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone, around 12 percent of those who served there, the White House says.  A total of 850,000 veterans overall are out of work, and 1 million additional service members are expected to return to civilian life by 2016, according to White House data.

Powered by Frankly