Fitzpatrick, Bustos Ignite Bipartisan Push for Fairness to Veterans

Fitzpatrick, Bustos Ignite Bipartisan Push for Fairness to Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) ignited a bipartisan push Thursday with Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) to ensure our nation’s veterans play a critical role in rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure with the introduction of the Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act.

“Our fighting men and women are the most highly skilled workforce in history,” said Fitzpatrick, “We must leverage their unprecedented skills to get our economy moving once again.”

“Rebuilding our nation’s transportation infrastructure is one of my top priorities and is absolutely essential to growing our economy and creating jobs,” said Bustos, “The brave veterans who served us so honorably deserve our full support and that starts with making sure they have good-paying jobs here at home.”

“With the unemployment rate for returning veterans remaining far too high, it is common sense that they should have access to the contracting preferences available for transportation projects,” Bustos continued.

The Fitzpatrick/Bustos Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act [HR 2906] would provide veterans with access to existing contracting preferences authorized for transportation projects.  Specifically, today’s bill would apply to the re-authorization of the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act”, known as MAP-21, which provides over one hundred billion dollars of federal funding for highway and transit projects across the country.

The Fairness to Veterans policy was unanimously amended to FY 2012 VA/MilCon appropriations and became law.  The policy was unanimously amended to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 representing over 60% of the federal discretionary budget, and to FY 2013 VA/MilCon appropriations.

“The American Legion emphatically supports Congressman Fitzpatrick’s Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act. This legislation would offer some redress by helping to ensure equal opportunity for veterans by expanding their participation in Department of Transportation contracting opportunities. Our gratitude also goes out to Congresswoman Cheri Bustos for agreeing to introduce this important legislation jointly,” said American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz. “Veterans have already achieved significant small business success, and many have taken advantage of the Legion’s small business workshops. But barriers remain and not all veterans receive the same opportunities to prosper as other small business owners do.”

More than 250,000 service members are transitioning each year from the military to civilian life. 1 in 4 veterans say they want to start a business, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), while 2.4 million veterans own a business according to the most recent Census and would likely hire fellow veterans if given the opportunity.

“This new bipartisan bill is a win-win.  Not only will it help get veterans back to work, but it will also help rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges, tunnels, and rails lines,” said Bustos.

“This is a bipartisan policy which has already enjoyed the bipartisan support of Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate,” continued Fitzpatrick, “It is time to make this policy the law.

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick represents Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos represents the 17th Congressional District of Illinois. Both are members of No Labels and Congressional Problem Solvers.