Campaign Promises

Departments -> Veterans Affairs -> Jobs

ItemVeterans Affairs
VA-11 The Promise: "Will put additional resources into enforcement and investigation in order to crack down on employers who are not following the letter and spirit of the law in regards to military reservists."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans" dated 09/09/08.
Status:The "Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act" (USERRA) has existed since CY1994. This law has re-hiring enforcement mechanisms in place to protect honorably discharged reservists returning from active duty but requires an amendment to ensure that returning reservists are not subjected to discrimination by former employers.

In an effort to mitigate this situation, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the "Help Veterans Return to Work Act" (H.R. 3860) on 02/01/12. This bill did not progress beyond referral to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

On 07/19/12, President Obama issued a memorandum with the subject "Ensuring the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) Protections." While this memorandum served to establish a "USERRA Employment Protection Working Group," it did not allocate additional resources to enforce and investigate employer discrimination against reservists returning from active duty. Rather, it simply directed participating agencies to "allocate sufficient resources to effectively implement the requirements of this memorandum, subject to the availability of appropriations."

On 09/28/16, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the "Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Improvement Act of 2016" (S. 3445) to improve the enforcement of employment and reemployment rights of members of the uniformed services. This bill expired with the 114th Congress at the end of CY2016.

This promise was not fulfilled.
VA-12 The Promise: "...will create a new 'Green Vet Initiative' that will have two missions: first it will offer counseling and job placement to help veterans gain the skills to enter this rapidly growing field; second, it will work with industry partners to create career pathways and educational programs."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "New Energy for America" dated 09/06/08.
Status:As of 10/11, the jobless rate among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans grew to 12.1% according to Department of Labor statistics, 3% higher than the national average of 9.1% for that month. The 12.1% veteran unemployment rate was up from 10% in 11/10, which was up from 8.4% in 07/10 and up from 7.7% in 07/09. The primary reason for the high veteran unemployment rate was that few of the skills acquired by our warfighters were directly transferable to the civilian sector.

Under the Veterans Workforce Investment Program, $7M was allocated to create 3,000 jobs for veterans in the green sector.

The Department of Labor had a separate $100M initiative, created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, that funded green training for veterans.

In the private sector, "Green Collar Vets," headquartered in Mansfield, TX, provided "online assistance to veterans in selecting and securing their next career in the rapidly-growing, multi-faceted green industries."

On 08/05/11, President Obama announced the creation of a new career readiness training proposal, dubbed a "reverse boot camp," to assist troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to better transition to the civilian workforce. In his announcement, President Obama also proposed tax credit incentives for companies to hire unemployed and disabled veterans and returning service men and women at a cost of approximately $120M over two years. Legislation supporting these initiatives was signed into law on 08/03/11 as the "Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011" (H.R. 1383) sponsored by Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL).

The "3% Withholding Repeal and Job Creation Act" (H.R. 674) was introduced by Congressman Walter Herger (R-CA) on 02/11/11. Title II of H.R. 674 is entitled "VOW to Hire Heroes." Subtitle A of Title II, entitled "Retraining Veterans" provided for the retraining of 45K veterans during FY2012 and 54K veterans during the period 10/01/12 through 03/31/14. H.R. 674 was signed into law by President Obama on 11/21/11.

Section 261 of Title II, entitled "Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors Work Opportunity Tax Credits" granted tax credits of up to $5,600 for employers hiring veterans who have been unemployed for at least six months; granted employers a $2,400 credit for hiring veterans unemployed for more than four weeks; granted tax credits of up to $9,600 for hiring disabled veterans who had been seeking work for more than six months; provided benefits to aging veterans for continued education; provided an additional year of help for job-hunting disabled vets; and allowed warfighters to apply for jobs before being discharged.

While no formal federal level "Green Vet Initiative" was created as promised, the programs initiated and the funds allocated for satisfying the two stated missions constitute promise fulfillment, as does the new tax credit incentives for industry to hire veterans. For example, the Denver-based non-profit organization "Veterans Green Job" has initiated a new "Veterans Green Force" recruitment and placement program that aims to place 300 veterans in "green" jobs.

This promise was fulfilled.