Democrats offer bill to encourage hiring of groups hard-hit by pandemic

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.)
Greg Nash

A group of Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee introduced a bill Thursday aimed at encouraging businesses to hire workers who have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation would expand the work opportunity tax credit — a tax break designed to incentivize employers to hire people from groups who often face barriers to employment, such as the long-term unemployed, veterans, ex-felons and recipients of certain federal benefits.

“The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a proven program that has long given veterans and vulnerable Americans the help they need to get back to work,” Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “This expansion will make it even better and more effective!” 

Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) said the bill “will make the largest difference for those hit the hardest by pandemic unemployment, including people of color, young workers, women, people with disabilities, veterans, and underserved communities.”

Currently, the work opportunity tax credit amount is 40 percent and is limited to the first $6,000 in wages per employee for one year for most types of eligible workers. The bill introduced Thursday would increase the credit amount to 50 percent for the first $10,000 in wages for two years for all eligible groups.

In addition to Suozzi and Horsford, other supporters of the bill include Democratic Reps. Don Beyer (Va.), Brad Schneider (Ill.) and Gwen Moore (Wis.), who all serve on the Ways and Means Committee. The panel has jurisdiction over taxes and is poised to play a key role in crafting legislation based on President Biden’s economic recovery proposals.

The bill is also supported by outside groups like the International Franchise Association, National Restaurant Association and American Health Care Association.

Tags Brad Schneider coronavirus pandemic Gwen Moore hiring Jobs Joe Biden Steven Horsford Tax credit Unemployment workers

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