February 27, 2013

Manchin, Kirk, Bipartisan Group of Senators Host 'Vets Jobs Day on the Hill’

Members of Congress re-launch Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus in the 113th Congress

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), co-founders of the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus, along with 36 additional Senators hosted today a set of bicameral, bipartisan activities during ‘Vets Jobs Day on the Hill.’ The events focused on encouraging Members of Congress to join the caucus, drawing public awareness to the barriers veterans face when trying to find jobs, and sharing information on veterans’ employment initiatives.

The Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus’ motto is, “If you want to help a vet, hire a vet.”

The Caucus was launched in the 112th Congress as a bipartisan, bicameral effort to decrease the unemployment rate of the 844,000 unemployed veterans across the United States. There are currently thirty-eight Senators and forty-six Representatives who have signed on to the Caucus.

The Caucus’ signature initiative is the “I Hire Veterans” program, where congressional offices, corporate partners and local businesses can place a sign in their windows pledging that they are dedicated to hiring veterans. Eight major corporations and numerous local businesses have endorsed the Caucus. These businesses are estimated to hire more than 200,000 veterans in the next five years.

To honor ‘Veterans Jobs Day on the Hill,’ Senators from both sides of the aisle delivered remarks on the floor stressing the importance of hiring our veterans. In addition, Senators and their staff attended a roundtable discussion on private-sector employment initiatives available to veterans. Senators also visited the Department of Defense Hero to Hire Mobile Jobs store that hosted a job fair for local veterans and units.

“Few issues unify Congress more than providing veterans the benefits and respect they have earned and deserve,” Senator Manchin said. “In the last year alone, our Caucus has added over forty new Members and eight corporate partners who have pledged to hire 200,000 veterans over the next five years. This is just one way we are keeping our country’s commitment to the men and women who have served us so bravely.”

“Our men and women in uniform shouldn't have to come home and fight just to make ends meet,” said Senator Kirk. “The Veterans Jobs Caucus demonstrates a commitment to put more than two million returning skilled service members back to work. As a U.S. Navy Reservist, I have served with some of the most talented men and women our nation has to offer, and it is heartening that business leaders across the country recognize the tremendous value these veterans possess. Companies like Wal-Mart and UPS hiring more veterans send a strong message that others should follow their lead.”

“Jobs must be our number one priority, and there's no better place to start than with our veterans. With the war in Iraq ended and Afghanistan winding down, we have a responsibility to make sure every single one of these men and women returns home to a paycheck – not an unemployment check. I urge my colleagues to join me in declaring war on veterans’ unemployment. Let's work together to make sure every American veteran has the good-paying job they deserve,” Montana Senator Max Baucus told his colleagues on the Senate floor today. Baucus has introduced The Veteran Employment Transition Act of 2013, S.140.

“Reducing unemployment is and will continue to be my number one priority, especially among our veterans. The men and women of our Armed Forces have made significant sacrifices on our behalf. Unfortunately, they are coming home to find their homes underwater and often face long-term unemployment. I am pleased to join my colleagues on the Veterans Jobs Caucus and am committed to helping reduce the unemployment rate among our heroes. These selfless patriots deserve the very best,” said Senator Dean Heller.

“Our men and women in uniform have stood up for us overseas, and we must stand up for them when they get home,” Senator Merkley said. “No veteran should have to fight just to get a job. I am proud to support the Veterans Jobs Corps and other efforts to create more jobs for returning veterans. I will continue to push for more to be done to ensure that our sons and daughters have jobs to come home to as we wind down the war in Afghanistan.”

“Whether supporting overseas operations or standing sentry on the home front, America’s veterans have been there for us,” Senator Mikulski said. “Our men and women in uniform who have fought for our freedom shouldn’t have to fight for a job when they get home. That’s why I am working hard every day in the U.S. Senate to ensure the federal government maintains its commitment to veterans. As a member of the Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus, I will never stop fighting for the men and women in uniform who have fought for our freedom. Promises made must be promises kept.”

“Service members put their lives on hold to serve our country and have now returned eager to pursue civilian life. Unfortunately, many are now struggling to find jobs,” Senator Pryor said. “As a member of this bipartisan caucus, I want to do my part to raise awareness of this issue and get our veterans back to work.”

“After our veterans have sacrificed for and served our country, they deserve nothing less than good jobs when they return home. That has always been part of my pledge to our veterans, and this collective effort is an exciting part of fulfilling that promise,” said Senator Rockefeller. “I’m proud to have had veterans working on my staff throughout my entire Senate career and doing incredibly valuable work. I’m glad Senators Manchin and Kirk created this group to inspire more employers from across the public and private sectors to hire our veterans.”

“Veterans made tremendous sacrifices for our nation, and it’s our responsibility to make sure they have access to good jobs when they come home,” Senator Tester said.  “Raising awareness and paving the way for more job opportunities will help connect veterans with businesses looking to hire.”

“Our veterans have shown their dedication to the United States time and again by devoting their lives to the protection of this country,” Senator Wyden said. “As a nation we owe them every opportunity to find good paying jobs when they return. I am a proud member of the Veterans Jobs Caucus because I believe these men and women have earned the right to seek out the American dream they have fought to preserve. I will continue to do my part to make sure that every Veteran who wants a job can find a job.”

113th Congress
Senate Congressional Veterans Job Caucus Members

1. Senator Manchin, Co-Chair (D-WV)
2. Senator Kirk Co-Chair (R-IL)
3. Senator Baucus (D-MT)
4. Senator Begich (D-AK)
5. Senator Bennet (D-CO)
6. Senator Blumenthal (D-CT)
7. Senator Blunt (R-MO)
8. Senator Boozman (R-AR)
9. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
10. Senator Carper (D-DE)
11. Senator Casey (D-PA)
12. Senator Chambliss (R-GA)
13. Senator Coons (D-DE)
14. Senator Enzi (R-WY)
15. Senator Franken (D-MN)
16. Senator Gillibrand (D-NY)
17. Senator Graham (R-SC)
18. Senator Harkin (D-IA)
19. Senator Heller (R-NV)
20. Senator Hoeven (R-ND)
21. Senator Hirono (D-HI)
22. Senator Inhofe (R-OK)
23. Senator Isakson (R-GA)
24. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)
25. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD)
26. Senator Klobuchar (D-MN)
27. Senator Landrieu (D-LA)
28. Senator McCaskill (D-MO)
29. Senator Merkley (D-OR)
30. Senator Mikulski (D-MD)
31. Senator Pryor (D-AR)
32. Senator Rockefeller (D-WV)
33. Senator Shaheen (D-NH)
34. Senator Stabenow (D-MI)
35. Senator Tester (D-MT)
36. Senator Toomey (R-PA)
37. Senator Whitehouse (D-RI)
38. Senator Wyden (D-OR)

To learn more about the Veterans Jobs Caucus and the “I Hire Veterans” initiative, please visit the Caucus’ website here.