Monday, December 12, 2011

Conyers: Congress Must Honor Veterans Service and Pass President Obama’s American Jobs Act Now

For Immediate Release
Date: Monday, December 12, 2011
Contact: Matthew Morgan – 202-226-5543

Conyers: Congress Must Honor Veterans Service and Pass President Obama’s American Jobs Act Now
Thousands of returning veterans face high unemployment

(DETROIT) – Today at an event in Westland, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) joined veterans and members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers (AFSCME)in calling on Congress to provide jobs for the thousands of veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by passing President Obama’s American Jobs Act.  As of October, 41,000 U.S. troops are deployed in Iraq and are due to return by the end of 2011.  In June, President Obama outlined a plan to return 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of summer 2012.  However there may not be a job waiting for many of these  returning service members. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobless rate among post-9/11 veterans in October stood at 12.1 percent, 3.5 percent higher than the national unemployment rate.  Michigan veterans, retirees and AFSCME members joined Representative Conyers to focus public attention on the jobless rate facing returning veterans who have served the Nation with distinction overseas and the need for Congress to take up job creating legislation.

“Congress needs to pass President Obama’s American Jobs Act now,” said Conyers.  “The jobless rate overall has declined a bit in the past year, but among veterans who have served in conflict since 2003, it is increasing. The unemployment rate for veterans serving since the Iraq war began has risen 1.5 percentage points to more than 12 percent in the past year.

“President Obama’s jobs bill, the American Jobs Act, would create as many as 2 million jobs. These jobs would be focused on rebuilding our nation’s roads, bridges and schools and preserving jobs for our teachers and vital public servants like police officers and firefighters. Our returning servicemen and women have the skills to fill these jobs.  In Iraq and Afghanistan they oversaw projects to rebuild that country’s schools, roads and bridges. They managed budgets and worked on engineering projects.  And Congress must  give them the opportunity to do so in their own country.

“So I ask our Republican colleagues and friends to truly honor our veterans – those who are just now returning from Iraq and those who have fought valiantly around the world to protect American interests.  Pass the American Jobs Act.  America’s veterans deserve better.”


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