November 21st, 2011
02:04 PM ET
President Obama signed legislation Monday that provides significant tax credits to businesses that hire unemployed and disabled veterans, the only measure in the president’s larger jobs proposal to receive any bipartisan support.
In a signing ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Obama offered rare praise to a Congress he has otherwise chastised for months over failure to take significant action on the nation’s struggling economy.
“I'm pleased that both parties came together to make this happen,” Obama said. “So once again I want to thank all the members of Congress who were involved.”
Still, Obama took the opportunity to push Congress for more bipartisan support on economic-related measures, a message that carried particular resonance given members of the so-call Super Committee are expected to announce there were unable to reach a deal on budget cuts later in the day.
“My message to every member of Congress is keep going. Keep working. Keep finding more ways to put partisanship aside and put more Americans back to work,” he said.
The new legislation will allow employers tax credits of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been unemployed longer than six months. It will also give employers a tax credit of up to $9,600 for hiring long-unemployed disabled veterans.
“For businesses out there, if you are hiring, hire a veteran. It's the right thing to do for you. It's the right thing to do for them” the president said. “And it's they right thing to do for our economy.
The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans stands just over 12.1%, which translates to about 240,000 veterans out of work, according to the White House. The measure to help veterans was one of several components of Obama’s jobs package, the rest of which have failed to garner any Republican support.
The new law also expands an education and jobs retraining program for unemployed veterans and creates a new project that directs the Labor Department to figure out ways for veterans to use their specialized training to get licenses in different fields in the civilian work force.
CNNMoney’s Jennifer Liberto contributed to this report.