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House Delegation Introduces Bipartisan Military Spouse Hiring Act

Today, Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19), along with Reps. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Don Beyer (VA-08), Mike Kelly (PA-16), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), and Don Bacon (NE-02) introduced H.R. 2912, the bipartisan Military Spouse Hiring Act, legislation that incentivizes employers to hire spouses of members of the United States Armed Forces. Unemployment rates for military spouses far exceed that of the national average and this bill would help close that gap by expanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to include the hiring of qualified military spouses, allowing employers to claim a tax credit equal to a portion of the wages paid to those spouses.

“Military families make immense sacrifices for our country, yet military spouses experience an unemployment rate of nearly 30%. Supporting military families is a top priority, and I’m proud to introduce legislation to address the military spouse unemployment crisis and empower thousands of families in Upstate New York and across the country,” said Rep. Delgado. “I thank my co-leads on both sides of the aisle for joining me to introduce the Military Spouse Hiring Act today.”

Rep. Jimmy Panetta said, “As a veteran, I understand the sacrifices military spouses and their families make in service to the nation. Since members of our Armed Forces have to move frequently, it can be challenging for spouses to find jobs and create or maintain a career path. Our bipartisan legislation can make their lives a little easier by expanding career opportunities and incentivizing employers to hire military spouses.”

“Military families make enormous sacrifices for their country, yet sadly unemployment is much too high for the spouses of servicemembers,” said Rep. Beyer. “The bipartisan Military Spouse Hiring Act would help fix this disparity and show military families that their service and sacrifice is valued.”

Rep. Mike Kelly said, “Our nation’s military spouses are supporting us, and we should support them. The data shows that unemployment among these men and women is far higher than the average. By making small changes to the tax code, we can do a lot to help. That’s why I’m proud to be a sponsor of the Military Spouse Hiring Act, which would incentivize employers to hire the spouses of servicemembers. It’s simple, it makes sense, it’s the right thing to do, and it honors those who are sacrificing for our nation, both overseas and here at home.”

“When someone joins the military, it’s not just a job—it’s a family commitment to our country,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. “Military families face a unique set of challenges, one of which is spousal employment. As co-chair of the Congressional Military Family Caucus, it’s my goal to make sure they have the support they need, and this bipartisan legislation will help bridge the employment gap by expanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to include military spouses.”

“Varying certification requirements to teach and work in each state across America are contributing factors to the excessively high military spouse unemployment rate,” said Congressman Bacon.  “I applaud this legislative achievement to improve military spouse employment across America and look forward to other ways we can further improve their employment.”

This legislation also has the endorsement of the National Military Spouse Network. 

The National Military Spouse Network said, "We stormed the Hill on Military Spouse Appreciation Day by bringing military spouses to speak to their legislators about the issues most important to them - including increasing employment opportunities. Expanding the WOTC to include military spouses as a target work group is the kind of meter-moving change vital to tackling the 24% unemployment rate within our community. Though there has been some headway through prior initiatives, the military spouse unemployment rate remains a concerning 6 times higher than that of the national average. The National Military Spouse Network (NMSN) and military spouses nationwide are gratified to know that our voices were heard and that Congressmembers Delgado, Panetta, Beyer, Kelly, McMorris Rogers, and Bacon are standing with us to solve the crisis of military spouse unemployment by introducing the Military Spouse Hiring Act."

Existing law already extends the Workforce Opportunity Tax Credit to employers that hire qualified military veterans, among other targeted groups. The Military Spouse Hiring Act would amend existing law to provide this tax incentive to employers that hire the spouses of members of the United States Armed Forces.