Sen. Timothy M. Kaine’s first bill in the Senate, the Troop Talent Act of 2013, made it to the House floor today. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois introduced a companion measure, which was designed to help veterans get the credentials to use their military skills as civilians. Kaine had unveiled his original proposal earlier this month, co-sponsored by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Republican from Georgia.
Today, 27 members of Congress joined Duckworth and signed on as cosponsors to the bipartisan legislation.
“The unemployment rate for veterans who have served in the military since 2001 is nearly 10 percent,”Duckworth said. “That number is simply unacceptable. Our veterans deserve every opportunity to achieve the American Dream that they fought for,” she said.
As of February, the unemployment rate among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans was 9.4 percent – a 1.8 percent increase since 2012 and 1.7 percent above the national average that month. The number of veterans receiving unemployment benefits has more than doubled since 2002, rising from 44,810 to 89,725 in 2012.
“With the veteran-unemployment rate higher among recent Iraq and Afghanistan veterans than the national average, we owe it to them to do everything we can to match their skills with the jobs employers are ready to hire them for,” Kaine said in a previous interview.