Weekly Columns

Hire More Heroes

Jan 16 2015

In the last session of Congress, a number of pro-growth, job-creating bills were approved by the U.S. House of Representatives only to die a slow death on then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s desk. 

One such bill—the Hire More Heroes Act—was approved with only one dissenting vote. It received over four hundred “aye” votes in the House and Senator Reid still wouldn’t allow my colleagues in the Senate on a vote on it. 

With new leadership in the Senate, those days behind us. This commonsense bill has a new lease on life. Reintroduced in both the House and the Senate, the Hire More Heroes Act has already cleared its first hurdle—House passage.   

The bill exempts veterans already enrolled in healthcare plans through Department of Defense (DOD) or Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from being counted toward the employee limit under the health care law. 

It’s a practical idea that’s also a win-win for our veterans and our small business owners. The Hire More Heroes Act helps veterans transition to life after the military by creating employment opportunities for them while providing relief for small businesses from Obamacare’s burdensome employer mandate. Employers would not be required to count them toward their total number of employees for the mandate that requires all businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance to their staffs. Employers therefore are incentivized to hire these heroes and expand without being penalized under the problematic law. 

As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am a strong supporter of this effort to help our veterans find meaningful employment. Too many veterans find themselves out of work as they return home from overseas. We need to eliminate the barriers they face as they transition to civilian life and this is a sensible place to start. 

That is why I am an original cosponsor of the Senate version of the Hire More Heroes Act, introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO). 

There is a considerable amount of bipartisan support for this effort, as demonstrated by the bill’s smooth and swift passage in the House. I believe it will pass the Senate just as easily and quickly in the coming weeks.

All of this makes you wonder how much we could have accomplished in recent years in Washington if Senator Reid had been more willing to work with the House during his tenure as leader. 

There are many more pro-growth jobs bills that share bipartisan support. The new leadership in the House and Senate are unified in their commitment to getting these bills passed. It is my hope that President Obama will commit to working with us on these bipartisan bills instead of against us.

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