Veterans employment, Obamacare 1st on GOP agenda

The first bit of business for Republicans in the new session of Congress will be to rekindle efforts to expand veterans employment while also chipping away at Obamacare.

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By Travis J. Tritten

The first bit of business for Republicans in the new session of Congress will be to rekindle efforts to expand veterans employment while also chipping away at Obamacare.

Lawmakers were expected to reintroduce the Hire More Heroes Act in the House and the Senate on Tuesday after it failed last year. The bill encourages small businesses to hire more vets by exempting those with military experience from being counted toward the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, which kicks in this year.

The legislation passed the House and died in the Democrat-controlled Senate during the last session, but its chances may improve now that the GOP has a majority in both chambers. It serves popular Republican issues including support of the military, small businesses and the economy while dismantling part of President Barack Obama’s health insurance overhaul.

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., who will again sponsor the House version, said post-9/11 veterans face higher unemployment than other veterans. Their joblessness rate is 5.7 percent compared to 4.5 percent for all veterans and 5.5 percent for the general U.S. population, according to a release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in November.

“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,” Davis said Saturday during the Republicans weekly House address.

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