Congresswoman Cheri Bustos

Representing the 17th District of Illinois
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Congresswoman Cheri Bustos Leads New Effort To Put Our Veterans Back To Work

Bustos’ “Jobs For Heroes Act” Would Extend & Expand Expiring Tax Credits For Businesses That Prioritize Hiring Veterans
Dec 4, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, with input from her recent “Standing up for our Veterans” tour across Illinois’ 17th District, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) spearheaded a new effort to create jobs for our nation’s veterans.  The Jobs for Heroes Act, introduced by Bustos, would not only extend, but also expand two expiring federal business tax credits designed to spur veteran employment.  If Congress fails to act the federal tax credits will expire at the end of December.

“Our brave veterans deserve our full support and that starts with making sure they have access to good-paying jobs when they return home,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos.  “The unemployment rate for our veterans remains far too high.  Democrats and Republicans should work together to renew and expand this job-creation tool that puts our veterans to work and provides our businesses with talented, skilled and dedicated workers.”

After hearing firsthand from our veterans last month about a variety of concerns, Bustos was urged to tackle the high unemployment rate among young veterans.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 have an unemployment rate of 20.4%, which is 5% higher than non-veterans of the same age range.  

“I’m leading this new effort to help connect veterans to jobs and economic opportunity in their communities,” Bustos continued. “It is common sense to not only extend these effective tax credits, but to provide additional incentives to businesses who are willing to be our partners in this effort.”

The Jobs for Heroes Act would:

  • Extend and expand the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to make the tax credit permanent and available to businesses, both small and large, that hire veterans, members of the National Guard, or Ready Reservists.  Currently, the tax credit it only available to businesses that hire certain veterans with economic or physical difficulties.
  • Extend and expand the Employer Wage Credit (EWC) to make the tax credit permanent and available to all businesses, both large and small.  Currently, this tax credit is only available to small businesses.  When National Guard members or Reservists are called up to active duty, their civilian jobs and salaries are placed on hiatus and they begin receiving military pay.  If their civilian salary was higher, the civilian employer might voluntarily provide differential pay to the individual to make up for this pay gap and in return, claim a tax credit of up to 20 percent of the difference.      

This past month, Bustos traveled Illinois’ 17th District as part of her “Standing up for our Veterans” tour to meet with local veterans to listen to their priorities and concerns.  She also discussed her work to cut down on the growing VA claims backlog, put veterans to work in good-paying jobs, make sure education and job training programs remain affordable and accessible, and put an end to veterans’ homelessness.  Bustos kicked-off the tour in Pekin by holding a listening roundtable with local veterans, toured the Peoria Air National Guard Base, held veterans’ homelessness roundtables in Rockford and Peoria, conducted a “Cheri on Shift” at the Sterling VA Clinic, participated in the “Veterans History Project” by interviewing a WWII veteran in Galesburg, and spoke at several veterans recognition ceremonies throughout Veterans Day weekend. 

During her tenure in Congress, Bustos has made our nation’s veterans a top priority and has relentlessly fought to protect the benefits they’ve earned and deserve.  In August, Bustos joined with Republican Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) to introduce a new bipartisan bill that would help put veterans back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, tunnels and rail lines.  The Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act [H.R. 2906] continues Bustos’ fight on behalf of our veterans by helping to ensure that they play a critical role in rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure by providing them with access to existing contracting preferences authorized for transportation projects.