The pending amendment is based on the House-approved H.R. 2433, the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act, which would provide monthly payments for retraining assistance to returning veterans. A Senate source said it has been modified in bipartisan talks between both parties in the House and Senate, and that it has a partisan “pay for” in the form of the extension of a fee the government charges for a veterans home loan program. It also includes the tax credit Obama proposed for companies that hire veterans.
The Senate version of the underlying bill, H.R. 674, would repeal the current (but never implemented) requirement that governments at all levels withhold 3 percent of payments to contractors, and also scale back last year’s healthcare law to disqualify some middle-income Americans from Medicaid. Both of these provisions are being supported by the Obama administration.
The inclusion of the bipartisan veterans language turns the bill into one of the most bipartisan measures seen all year in the Senate. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) praised Democrats for calling up the amendment, which he said contains “many provisions supported by Republicans.”
“This is just the kind of thing we’ve been calling for,” McConnell said. “This is just the kind of thing we should be doing more of around here.”
McConnell also praised the Democrats for bringing up the 3 percent withholding bill, and said passing it is a way to “show the American people that you care more about creating jobs than in creating campaign slogans.”
“Let’s not make the bills we’ll be voting on today the exception, but the rule around here,” he added. “Let’s keep it up.”