The United States Senate unanimously passed a new bill Thursday geared to help unemployed veterans find jobs, although the question must be asked, is it enough to help all our veterans?
One day before Veterans Day, Senate lawmakers approved a new measure designed to aid the nation's unemployed veterans looking for work.
Passing with a vote of 95-0, the limited measure is a bipartisan piece of legislation taken from President Obama's $447 billion jobs package and so far the only piece able to pass the Senate.
Before its passage, CNN quoted the bill's sponsor Jon Tester of Montana as saying "Let's work together to get this bill passed, because it's the least we can do for those whom we owe so much."
The bill will extend tax credits of up to $5,600 to employers for hiring unemployed veterans out of work for more than six months. The measure would also give up to $9,600 in tax credits to employers for hiring long-unemployed disabled veterans. The new bill will also provide new dollars for retraining older unemployed veterans
According to the White House, October's unemployment rate reached 12.1 percent for veterans leaving the military after 2001, which translates into approximately 240,000 veterans out of work.
Although a tragic number in itself, this figure is only a fraction of the nearly 900,000 total unemployed veterans throughout the country with the number of homeless vets from past and present wars increasing every day.
Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982.
In a new study published Tuesday, the 100,000 Homeless Campaign found that the number homeless veterans are at an all time high and among the total population of the homeless; veterans are more likely to die out on the streets than non-veterans.
The movement which works to house the homeless surveyed 23,000 homeless people countrywide and found that homeless vets tend to remain homeless longer and are typically older than non-veterans.
The study found that 21.3 percent of the homeless veteran population were over 60 years of age, doubling the percentage of homeless non-vets.
This factor may not explain entirely why veterans tend to remain homeless longer than others and/or in some cases more susceptible to illness than non-veterans but some older vets claim that their age often hinders their ability to get their lives back on track.
T.J. Manning served as a marine in Vietnam and is a prime example of the veterans plight. Now living in a homeless shelter in Texas, Manning is a veteran with a master’s degree in clinical psychology and still finds himself without a job or home.
In an interview with a local TV station Manning says that President Obama's plan to help employ veterans doesn't cater to servicemen from his era.
"When you say a bill for veterans you are intending to seem very inclusive."
Manning adds that "the plan to put veterans back to work is aimed at soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan and not for older veterans."
File photo: Soldiers attend a chemical light vigil held at the North Fort Hood training site Nov. 6, 2009.
On a personal note I ask that we keep all our veterans in our thoughts on their day and throughout the year.
Thank you for your service, Salute'.