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Kaine, Boozman, Hassan, & Rounds Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Boost Hiring of Military Spouses

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and is Co-Chair of the Senate Military Families Caucus, and U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) introduced the Military Spouse Hiring Act, legislation to amend the tax code to incentivize businesses to hire military spouses. They were joined in the introduction by U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Mike Rounds (R-SD). Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Antonio Delgado (D-NY-19).

“Congress has a responsibility to take care of our service members, veterans, and their families,” said Kaine. “That means helping America’s talented military spouses, who consistently make enormous sacrifices for our safety and security, access a wide range of work opportunities. Expanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a commonsense step to help make that happen.”

“Military spouses make countless sacrifices as they support their husbands and wives, and our nation’s defense. We can help reduce the burdens they face in the process of finding gainful employment by expanding this tax credit so businesses have an extra incentive to hire these unsung heroes,” Boozman said.

“Military families make immeasurable sacrifices for our country as their loved ones work to keep us safe, secure, and free,” said Hassan, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Unfortunately, the unique set of challenges that military spouses face, from relocation to child care, makes it harder for many to find a job. This bipartisan legislation will work to strengthen employment opportunities for military spouses and support our military families. I look forward to working across the aisle to move this commonsense bill forward.”

“Our service members and their families are willing to sacrifice so much for our country,” said Rounds. “One of these sacrifices includes moving from one assignment to the next, which can make it difficult for military spouses to secure a job and for employers to hire them. We owe it to our service members and their families to remove obstacles hindering their financial well-being. Expanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to include military spouses will help remove one barrier, giving our military families the opportunities they deserve.”

Military spouses consistently experience unemployment rates substantially higher than the national rate, and two thirds of employed active duty military spouses report underemployment. Frequent moves often stall military spouses’ upward career progression and force them to find new jobs.

Today’s legislation would address the issue by expanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program—which incentivizes employers to hire individuals who experience unique employment barriers—to include military spouses.

Kaine has long advocated for federal policies to help military spouses. The provisions of Kaine’s Military Spouse Employment Act which were included in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act expanded hiring and career opportunities for military spouses, improved access to continuing education programs, expanded transition and counseling resources, increased small business opportunities for military spouses, provided more opportunities for family wellness programs on military bases, and addressed the constant transfers and moves military families experience.

The Military Spouse Hiring Act is supported by: Air Force Association (AFA), Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA), Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Commissioned Officers Association of the US Public Health Service (COA), Chief Warrant Officers Association of the US Coast Guard (CWOA), Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America (JWV), Marine Corps League (MCL), Marine Corps Reserve Association (MCRA), Military Chaplains Association of the United States of America (MCA), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), National Military Family Association (NMFA), National Restaurant Association, Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA), Reserve Organization of America (ROA), Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), The Enlisted Association (TREA), Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), United States Army Warrant Officers Association (USA WOA), USCG Chief Petty Officers Association (CPOA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), VetsFirst, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), and Work Opportunity Tax Credit Coalition.

“The military spouse unemployment rate has remained too high for too long. When military spouses can’t find work, it’s a problem for their family’s financial stability and wellbeing,” said Besa Pinchotti, Executive Director and CEO of the National Military Family Association. “The Military Spouse Hiring Act will encourage more employers to hire military spouses, investing in our military spouses, our military families, and our military as a whole."

“Military spouses make tremendous sacrifices for our country yet continue to face significant burdens when it comes to employment opportunities. The continued high rate of unemployment and under employment among military spouses not only impacts the financial stability of military families, but also hurts military retention. More than a third of military families cite spouse employment challenges as a reason for leaving active duty,” said MOAA president and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret). “We appreciate Sens. Kaine, Boozman, Hassan, and Rounds’ efforts to incentivize the hiring of military spouses which will benefit this great community, the local economy, and employers alike.”

Full text of the legislation is available here. A summary of the legislation is available here.