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Congressman Al Lawson

Representing the 5th District of Florida

Lawson Introduces Veterans Jobs Bill

July 20, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-5) introduced the Veterans Jobs Opportunity Act to give a boost to veterans who invest in their communities through entrepreneurship. 

Veteran-owned small businesses create jobs and stimulate the economy. Veterans own 2.5 million businesses in the United States with over $1 trillion in revenue and 5 million employees, according to the Census Bureau.

Lawson’s bill would establish a small business start-up tax credit for veterans creating businesses in underserved communities.

“One of my priorities in Congress is working to ensure our veterans are getting the help they deserve - from job training, to access to health care and education benefits, to finding affordable housing," Lawson said. "Our brave men and women who have fought for our freedom deserve to be taken care of when they return home. This bill aims to help encourage veterans to pursue their dream of starting a small business in our communities around the country.”

Lawson’s bill currently has 25 co-sponsors, including U.S. Reps. Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Dwight Evans (PA-2), Donald Payne (NJ-10), G.K. Butterfield (NC-1), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Sanford Bishop (GA-2), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Nydia Velazquez (NY-7), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Colleen Hanabusa (HI-1), Joyce Beatty (OH-3), Alma Adams (NC-12), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2), Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Yvette Clarke (NY-9), Lou Correa (CA-46), Mike Thompson (CA-5), Darren Soto (FL-9), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Gene Green (TX-29), and Jim Costa (CA-16).

“Throughout our history, veterans have laid the foundation that has built America’s economy by leveraging the knowledge, skills, and work ethic that led to their success in the military. Not only have these men and women sacrificed for our country, but many come home and work as entrepreneurs, creating small businesses that boost local economies and provide new jobs in their communities,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “This bill helps to provide crucial tax credits for our veterans aspiring to become entrepreneurs and leaders in underserved communities, while catalyzing the small businesses that will create jobs for those who need them most.”

“Due to their discipline and ingenuity, many veterans are a natural fit for entrepreneurship when they re-enter civilian life,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the House Small Business Committee. “Mr. Lawson’s bill will help more veterans pursue dreams of business ownership and especially provide a boost in communities that have struggled economically. I applaud him for authoring this innovative, job creating proposal and look forward to working with him toward its enactment.”

Veterans groups have also come out in support of the bill, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, AMVETS, and the Association of the United States Navy.

“The VFW is proud to support the Veterans Jobs Opportunity Act with the hopes of stimulating economic growth in much needed areas,” said Carlos Fuentes, the Director of National Legislative Service for the VFW. “Giving advantages to veteran-owned small businesses will help strengthen the economy and our commitment to veterans. We are excited to see how this legislation will impact our veterans and our communities for years to come.”