Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) established her advocacy for the U.S. military with her inaugural Senate bill focused on veteran employment.
The Hire Student Veterans Act aims to expand the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which currently incentivizes employers to hire veterans, to allow veterans using their GI Bill benefits to take advantage of paid internships and work while in school.
Rosen says the bill was formed out of listening to her constituents.
“What some of the veterans have told me is that they are going to school full-time on the GI Bill, but they still want to be able to have that opportunity to take a part-time internship or work part-time in the field that they are studying, so that when they get out they have the necessary job experience,” she said.
The bipartisan bill — co-sponsored by senators Jerry Moran, Debbie Stabenow, Cory Gardner, Tammy Baldwin, and Kevin Cramer — would lower the amount of work hours required for an employer to obtain benefits from 400 to 120.
Supporting the military stems deep in Rosen’s family history. Her father, Leonard Spektor, served in the Army during the Korean War. She also appreciates her father-in-law’s, family’s, friend’s and acquaintance’s service.
“So many of my relatives served in World War II and the Korean War,” she said. “I have many friends who spouses and children continue to serve. Part of my team in Nevada and here in Washington have served and are still serving in the Guard and Reserve.”
While the senator recognizes the nationwide impact this would have, the bill is especially beneficial to her constituents. She says one out of every nine people in Nevada either is a veteran, active duty military or supports the military in some way.
“The message at this time is that it is so important for us to honor the people that take this step to commit possibly their lives, commit their heart, and their whole soul and being to serving our country,” she said. “We need to do everything we can to honor and respect that and give them platforms for success and prosperity in every way that we can when they return home.”
The senator was also awarded the Eagle Award from the Enlisted Association of the National Guard recently in recognition of her work in trying to expand affordable health coverage for Guardsmen and Reservists who serve as federal employees via the TRICARE Reserve Improvement Act that she co-sponsored this and last year.
Also, as a representative, Rosen served on the House Armed Services Committee and is a current member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee’s Subcommittee on Employment.
Overall, Rosen says she wants military families and those serving to know that their political leaders are listening to them and are trying to find every way possible to support them.
“In my congressional office in the last few years, we were able to help so many veterans and actually return about over $700,000 in benefits that these veterans weren’t able to retrieve on their own,” she said. “Now that we are in the Senate, we are going to continue to expand upon on that work, and expand upon the work that we are doing with bills like the TRICARE Reserve Improvement Act and Hire Student Veterans Act.”
While Rosen introduced a similar bill into the 115th Congress, she asserts that she is hopeful the Hire Student Veterans Act is going to pass the Senate this year.
“I can’t imagine that there is going to be too much opposition to something that launches our veterans and sets them up for success in the future,” she said, “and that’s why I’m proud to introduce this as my first bill.”