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Merkley, Wyden Offer Amendment To Jobs Act
Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden have introduced an amendment to employ veterans as coordinators of community clean ups of marine debris from the Japanese tsunami of last year. They offered the amendment to the Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012, which is being considered in the Senate.
The Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012 would put veterans to work throughout the U.S. as law enforcement officers and firefighters as well as on conservation projects. It would also provide training and career transition assistance to unemployed veterans. Young veterans particularly struggle with a higher unemployment rate than the general population, about 11%. The $1 billion dollar program is paid for by increasing tax enforcement on delinquent Medicare providers and others who owe more than $50,000 in back taxes.
“Our nation cannot stand by as veterans struggle to find work. Nor can we ignore the real crisis of tsunami debris washing up on our beaches and estuaries. Our legislation is a way to take advantage of veterans’ unique skills and help address both problems,” said Senator Wyden.
The amendment would ensure that 5%, or $50 million, was set aside to hire veterans to help coordinate community clean-ups of marine debris from the tsunami which is inundating west coast and Alaska beaches. In addition, the funds could also be used for logistical support for the clean-ups, for supplies, transportation or marine debris disposal.
Under the amendment, the $50 million would be administered in grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to non-governmental organizations or state or local governments to hire veterans as part of their marine debris response efforts.