Obama signs tax benefits for vet hires into law
November 21st, 2011
02:04 PM ET

Obama signs tax benefits for vet hires into law

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.

Topics: President Obama

soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. kevin

    pretty pathetic that we as a country have to have a tax incentive to do the right thing for our fellow man. Capitalism has a lot of benefits over other economic systems, but this is a reminder that a free market economy doesn't provide us with solutions to every morale question. Always be suspicious of simplistic rhetoric!

    November 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  2. FIELD1stSGT

    He wouldn't have to be critical of a Congress who will not sign trash into law. His dealings of only taking care of a few does not a bill make. Halos should go to Veterans in seeking employment. But not to the ones who have drug off human resources for years. This is all Obama is about that and trying to undermine the Constitution.

    November 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • MikeInCarolina

      Pure jibberish! You couldn't explain or justify that nonsense for all the tea in China. 'Sounds like you're off your meds or something worse.

      November 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
      • george

        And I couldn't agree more mikeInCarolina!

        November 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  3. Phil in KC

    I guess something is better than nothing. But I'm really tired of the obstructionist policies of the Republican party. They are putting their party and their ideology above the country. They would rather see the country fail than compromise. They are NOT patriots.

    November 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • JS

      I wonder if there is a rider in the bill that says these Vets can get hired if they are not members of a union? One more empty promise by this administration. You can blame any party you want, they are all to blame. So if two candidates go for the same job and the clearly less qualified candidate is a vet – they get the job? What does this remind you of?

      November 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
      • Robby Robinson

        You are damn right the jobs should go to the veteran/disabled veteran.We have more than earned the right to jump ahead of folks who are NON vets

        November 23, 2011 at 6:21 am |
      • Robby Robinson

        Oh gee, are you talking about Affirmative Action?
        Our Vet bill has nothing to do with AA. AA was about putting people ahead of the line SOLELY by the color of their skin. We vets are at the top of the heap NOT because of our skin color, but because we earned that right. AA didn't care if you were uneducated or clueless and clearly UNDER QUALIFIED for the positions they were hired.

        November 23, 2011 at 6:33 am |
    • jean2009


      November 21, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Bob

      Wow, talk about a feeling of entitlement. How exactly do vets EARN the right to automatically be given something over a civilian? This crap about freedom and protecting us is war propaganda that you are regurgitating. Doing your job and following orders does NOT make you a demi-god. The govnt tells vets they are privileged much as Jews are the "Chosen People", but they do so as a carrot to keep you fighting. In fact, soldiers get PAID to do their job and FOLLOW ORDERS from the state (not to protect peace, freedom, or the Constitution anymore). Is this honor? Somehow the bar is so low for the military that simply signing up and doing your job somehow makes you a hero who earned a special seat above a mere ordinary citizen? That is bs and a sad way of thinking about your non-warring fellow man.

      December 22, 2011 at 8:48 am |
      • Mike


        Serving your country is about sacrifice. If it is so easy and the money is so good then sign up. What you will find is that you work long hours with no overtime. You sacrifice family time if not family itself due to locations in which you are asked to serve. You live under conditions that most Americans cannot even comprehend for much of your service.

        When you say that VETS are warmongers or the like you miss the point that defense is about deterence as much as anything else. The making of war is decided by politicians whom you elect and most of whom are not VETS.

        January 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
      • Bob

        @Mike-You can't say on one hand that they are "sacrificing for country" when on the other hand it is a voluntary gig for a nice paycheck, benefits, and tons of tax breaks. It's not as if the military is charitable work. That's each individuals CHOICE. People sacrifice their lives and familes everyday in America so that the world can continue to go around. But their profession is their CHOICE. What about police/firefighters? What about all of the other federal workers on the payroll? What about their sacrifice and service to their country, travel, and long hours? What about the countless US diplomats and their families? Should they be guaranteed a job over any civilian? Should we borrow more money from China to give tax credits to hire anyone in the priviledged class? What about the civilians who sacrifice to protect liberty domestically? Should they also get a jobs guarantee and tax credit above anyone else? I hope you get the point here. The military is just one prong of many that makes the US more secure. So why only acknowledge and reward the miltary above those civilians who sacrifice here at home? It's time we stop with the overused "we owe everything to the military and state to protect us" rhetoric and get real about solutions to domestic issues.

        January 12, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Bob

      I'd also like to add to the fact that your tax dollars aren't going to pay for this legislation. Taxes are going to be increased on seniors and children who would otherwise qualify for health care tax credits. So essentially we are raising taxes on the elderly and children to give to corporations with enough capital to hire vets. Sorry, that doesn't seem like the right thing to do to me.

      December 22, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Congratulations to our vets and to our President for continuing to look out for them.
    There is no way we can repay our debt to veterans and those currently serving. I cannot go as far as to congratulate Congress for passing this portion of the jobs bill as they did it because there would be no way in hell for them to explain ans spin away this particular obstruction and refusal to help those that lay down their lives in order to protect the lives of those in Congress, and their fellow countrymen.

    November 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Phedra

      I am not very optimistic that this jobs bill is going to do any good. The businesses aren't hiring due to the myriad of paperwork that's required to hire anyone. Not only that, they are concerned about what effect the health care is going to have on them. They are just sitting in limbo until some things are settled. I would think if there really are jobs available, they would have been filled long ago and there still won't be jobs for the vets. Time will tell but I would like to see an accounting of how many vets actually got jobs because of this bill.

      November 22, 2011 at 3:43 am |
  5. Ben

    I wonder how this bill defines long term unemployed. A lot of the solders who joined right after we went to Iraq and then went to college after the end of their 4 year contract will be graduating this year. Will these veterans who were "unemployed" while they were going to school be eligible for this? I would hope so. Iraq veterans went through hell so they deserve this. Though it is sad that the state of our economy is so bad that a veteran with a 4 year degree would have enough trouble finding a job that this bill would be needed.

    November 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  6. Scott @ Engage America

    Encouraging employers to hire veterans is a good idea, but it is unlikely that this bill will have any effect on the economy or job growth. Much like the payroll tax cuts in Obama's jobs bill that employers don't think will encourage hiring (http://eng.am/nQFWgQ), this new credit will not spur new jobs.

    Employers make hiring decisions based on whether a new hire will increase profits, not on short term accounting gimmicks. Even companies who will now hire veterans are mot likely choosing veterans over the non-veterans they were already going to hire anyway (http://eng.am/rQ68hF).

    November 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • george

      It is at least starting out the course on the right direction. Don't mistake me,100% would be fine but I along with many others I know would settle for 80% as a pass!!

      November 21, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
      • Phedra

        I think we'll be darn lucky if we see as much as 10%. If I were running a business, I wouldn't be hiring anyone until I knew where things stood with the government in the terms of paperwork which is overwhelming and the status of health care and what effect it will have on a business. People don't hire when things at the top are so uncertain.

        November 22, 2011 at 3:47 am |
    • Robby Robinson

      You are 100% correct in that we will be hired before non veterans

      November 23, 2011 at 6:38 am |
  7. Emmy Skaddittle

    well at least their is something we can agree on, One bill passed that's a start

    November 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  8. Straight Shooter

    Field1stSgt – Delusional much? Now put the bottle down and go back to swearing at the Jerry Springer guests.

    November 21, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • jean2009

      He admitted on one blog post that he was a field sgt in some militia group...not the real military.

      November 21, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  9. george of the jungle

    Our president quietly forges ahead to do what he can for the American people while the repos keep trying to demonize him. The only one with any class around, even thanking them for working on this bill togeather. Field1st is some kind of nut. If anything Obama has stuck to the constitution when others have not. Since when does some one no one voted for, like this norquest jerk have so much power and money that he can influence the repos? And if they don't follow then he makes sure they don't get funded for their campaignes. This is democracy? I didn't vote for this guy to have people sign a pledge for me. Any one out there ask this guy to do this??? He is not an elected offical. Vote all the repos out. Next election thats what I'm doing

    November 21, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  10. Jamie Mallard

    As an unemployed veteran this actually brightened my day a bit.

    November 21, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  11. jean2009

    It is sad when people won't hire a veteran, and they have to pass a bill to pay them to do what is right.

    November 21, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  12. Dude

    You spelled benefits wrong in the title, "Obama signs tax benfits for vet hires into law"

    November 21, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  13. Dai Bui

    Now why dont we put Dr. Ron Paul in for President to sign the End the War on Drugs Law.

    November 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm |

    Mr. President keep fighting for those who fight for America........And Shame on the republicans for picking their wealthy friends over our National Security........ To allow the trigger to defense spending to happen so they can defend tax cuts for their wealthy friends is simply un-American....

    November 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Jay

      Are you aware of how much money would be brought in if we taxed all the rich people at 100% of their income over, say $200k? You can't close even one year of Obama's deficit by doing that.

      The point is, it's not a revenue problem, and the sooner the entire country wakes up to that simple fact, the better off we'll all be.

      I find it humorous hearing Liberals finally care about defense spending, after a good 40 years using cuts in it to fund your favorite domestic waste programs.

      How about this, Libs, if you care so much about the nation's defense – cut the National Endowment for the Arts, public financing of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Ethanol Subsidies, stop wasting our money on subsidizing solar power companies. I could go on, but, you come back and complain about your newfound love of military spending after you've cut this nonsense out of the budget.

      November 22, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  15. Brian Whitaker

    I am an Army Veteran who is very gratfull for my president Barack Obama to support us and that now we have a better chance to be able to work and contribute for the success for the country that us veterans fought and died for the more veterans who have a job the more it helps the country to rebuild are
    amazing status of wealth in the world.

    November 21, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  16. VRage13

    I'm active duty military. Don't be fooled by this. OB is doing exactly what he says he hates about Repub.....catering to, bribing big business. Note who gets the tax break. Business not vets. This is a 3-card-monty game. What most of you people are loosing sight of is the amount of our retirement (a retirement we have worked for, sacrificed for) that he wants to steal from us. He has shown time and again how much he hates the 1%-ers....the military. We are the true 1% that stands the line to defend the 99%. His economic plans has the military 1% sacrificing more of what we have worked for and we are not rich by any stretch of imagination. That also makes him a liar as he said he would not touch anything on those who make less than $250,000. It is amazing how many repub policies he follows or has kept in place. So much for change.

    November 22, 2011 at 2:42 am |
  17. Jay

    Obama said: “I'm pleased that both parties came together to make this happen, so once again I want to thank all the members of Congress who were involved.”

    In the comments we would be led to believe that somehow Obama signed a bill into law without it passing the Congress first. I know many of you CNN watchers don't understand how a bill becomes a law (perhaps this will help: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Otbml6WIQPo), but, it has to pass the House and Senate first.

    We can debate the dubious economic principles involved in offering yet another change to our tax laws to favor a particular group (as popular as that group may be), but what a simple google search would have revealed would have been the widespread bipartisan support this particular element of the president's job plan had, passing the House 418-6.

    You can claim that the GOP is holding up (and some can argue rightly so) most of Obama's agenda for economic failure, but you can't blame them for this particular piece since it passed the GOP controlled House with a vast majority.

    November 22, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • Robby Robinson

      Signing the bill is the final seal of approval and anyone who is moderately intelligent knows the bill CANNOT be signed into law without congressional approval

      November 23, 2011 at 6:44 am |
      • Vera

        World War I known at the time as The Great War – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was sinegd on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of the war to end all wars.

        November 9, 2012 at 4:42 am |
  18. vanessa thompson

    It's too little too late. and yes I am a veteran.....

    November 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
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    January 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm |