Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 | 3 a.m.
Nevada Congressman Joe Heck delivered the weekly Republican address this morning, and in honor of the holiday, he spoke about veterans.
Heck was chosen for this address in particular because he’s an active member of the Army Reserve: he serves as a physician and was deployed to Iraq in 2008 to run the emergency services section of a combat support hospital.
Heck framed the bulk of his address through an anecdote from that experience, telling the story of how two of his medics draped the body of a Marine they could not save in an American flag.
“Four hours later, I asked ‘You guys need a break?’” Heck said in relaying the story. “Their answer was, ‘Sir, never leave a fallen comrade.’ Such is the caliber of the men and women we call ‘veterans.’”
Heck did not spend much time on partisan distinctions, as is usually the case with these addresses — instead, he made one pitch for the House Republicans’ roster of economic bills and spent the rest of his time praising the recent trend of Congressional bipartisanship in passing bills to ensure post-9/11 veterans are able to find jobs when they return home.
“Last month, the House of Representatives passed the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act which would provide training and assistance to unemployed veterans, and break down bureaucratic barriers preventing them from finding work,” he said. “It’s smart legislation that members of both parties support, and I’m pleased the Senate passed it.”
That’s really half of it: the version of the bill the Senate passed also includes tax incentives for companies to hire post-9/11 veterans who have been unemployed for six months or more: up to a $5,600 tax break for hiring a veteran and up to $9,600 for hiring a disabled veteran. The House has not yet voted on that portion of it, which is also a piece of President Barack Obama’s jobs bill.
But in general, bipartisan spirits do seem to be prevailing when it comes to helping veterans find a job once they find their way home: the Senate passed that bill by a vote of 94 to 1, and the House passed its bill by a vote of 418 to 6.
“We have a lot more to do,” Heck said. “With unemployment still much too high, we just can’t wait to take bipartisan action that will help put Americans back to work. Together, we can rise above politics to make certain our nation remains great and worthy of our veterans’ sacrifices.”
The link to Heck's address is available here.