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U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley introduces a new bill aimed at putting veterans back to work during a visit to AMVETS Post 28 in Clinton on Thursday.

Ben Jacobson/Clinton Herald
Herald Staff Writer

U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley (D) stopped by Clinton AMVETS Post 28 on Thursday to discuss a newly-introduced bill that will incentivize the hiring of veterans. Braley said the measure would help hundreds of out-of-work vets find jobs, addressing what he feels is a significant issue.

Braley said about one in four veterans deployed since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, face unemployment.

“(That is) one of the most disturbing statistics I know of,” Braley said.

The proposed legislation would give employers who hire veterans who have spent at least six months on active deployment a break in Social Security expenses. Employers would not be obligated to pay their share of the Social Security costs for a year, and would receive a $1,000 tax credit for every 52 consecutive works a veteran remains on they payroll.

Braley said the tax breaks shouldn’t be detrimental to the economy, as unemployed veterans are paid no Social Security. Getting them back in the work force, according to Braley, will help keep Social Security solvent.

But that is not the real motivation behind getting veterans back to work, Braley said.

“These brave unemployed veterans answered the call of duty for us,” and this bill could help answer the call of duty for them, he said.

The bill was formed with bipartisan support. Braley said that despite the occasionally vitriolic rhetoric on both sides of the aisle, there is a sense of respect in Washington, D.C. for those who have served their country.

“We don’t always agree on everything,” he said, “but we agree on our commitment to our veterans.”

Braley took questions from the crowd following the announcement. Several veterans and active members of AMVETS Post 28 were in attendance. They expressed concern over potential cuts to veterans’ benefits, something Braley said he would fight to prevent.

“It’s not right, and I will fight any efforts to do it,” he said.

Post Commander William Rickerl said the new legislation has potential to help young veterans, many of whom return home to an abysmal job market.

“It should really help the younger veterans,” Rickerl said. “It’s primarily to benefit them. They have their whole working lives ahead of them.”

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