Brace yourself. Sit down. This is not something you’re used to hearing.
Thursday the Senate will likely pass the first piece of President Obama’s jobs bill. Twenty-nine days after the failure of the overall jobs package, 28 days after the Senate declared it would pick out parts of the bill and start passing them and after at least two failed attempts at passing other of the bill – this will be the first piece to get though the Senate.
The Vow to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 will provide incentives to employers to make hiring veterans a priority. The bill will be tacked onto the 3 percent withholding bill as an amendment to the one that the House of Representatives passed last week.
The measure would provide a tax credit to companies of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months and a $2,400 credit for veterans who have been unemployed for more than four weeks but less than six months. If a company hires a veteran with service-connected disabilities who has been looking for a job for more than six months the company can receive a tax credit of up to $9,600.
Additionally, the legislation would ensure that all outgoing veterans receive the job training skills they need to find a job and transfer into civilian society. A Transition Assistance Program, a workshop, would be mandatory for service members moving from service to civilian life, providing help with resume writing and career counseling.
This bill will not get paid for by the controversial surtax on Americans making more than $1 million, unlike the other two pieces of the jobs bills that failed previously, with Democratic insistence and Republican opposition.
Rather, the bill will be covered by existing pay-fors that have been used by previous Congresses, primarily though the extension of the current fee rate for guaranteeing Veterans Affairs home loans.
Both Republicans and Democrats expect this measure to pass overwhelmingly Thursday.
And both sides will likely claim credit for the passage.
“When something good happens here in the Senate, I think it’s important that we all acknowledge it,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in previewing Thursday’s vote. “So I want to start this morning by thanking our friends on the other side for finally agreeing to join us and making progress on the nearly two dozen bipartisan jobs bills the house has already passed.”
The vote on the bill will happen in the early afternoon, after a few amendments, including one counter plan from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that likely won’t pass.
After the Thursday’s portion of the jobs bill passes, it will be sent to the House of Representatives for a final vote. The House will take up the measure next week and if passes in the House, it goes to President Obama’s desk for his signature.