The Senate plans to take up legislation this week to tweak the Affordable Care Act’s much-delayed employer mandate for veterans.
The Hire More Heroes Act of 2014 would allow employers to leave veterans out of the 50-count threshold for the employer-mandate requirement, as long as the veterans already have health insurance. Their coverage must either be through TRICARE — the federal veterans’ health program — or through the Veterans Affairs Department.
The employer mandate requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide their workers with health insurance or pay a penalty, which opponents argue could cause employers to cut hours or decline to hire more workers.
Supporters of the bill say it is intended to encourage employers to hire veterans by eliminating the desire to avoid hitting the mandate cutoff. They also say the current level of veteran unemployment is unacceptable.
The unemployment rate for all veterans was 6.6 percent in 2013, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates. The unemployment rate for those who served on active duty after September 2001 was 9 percent. The overall U.S. unemployment rate in April was 6.3 percent.
The legislation was introduced by Republican Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois, and it easily passed the House on a 406-1 vote in March.
The Senate version is sponsored by Missouri Republican Roy Blunt. It has 38 cosponsors, including two Democrats: Mark Udall of Colorado and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a cloture motion on the motion to proceed Thursday, setting the bill up for a procedural vote this week.
The vote schedule will not be set until after the vote to end debate on the Shaheen-Portman education bill Monday evening, but the earliest the employer-mandate legislation could move would be a cloture vote on the motion to proceed Wednesday, according to a Senate Democratic aide.
The legislation is the vehicle for the tax-extenders bill, the aide said.
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At the end of the debate, moderator Lester Holt asked Donald Trump if he stands by his statement that Hillary Clinton didn't have the look of a president. Trump responded by saying Holt misquoted him, instead saying that Clinton "doesn't have the stamina." Clinton responded by saying that when Trump visits 112 countries as secretary of state, he can talk to her about stamina.
Donald Trump, when pressed by Lester Holt on why he finally admitted that President Obama was born in America, repeated his widely debunked claim that it was started by Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton went point by point on how race can so often determine the treatment that people receive, mentioning recent shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte, calling for restored trust between communities and police, and demanding criminal justice reform. Trump responded by calling for law and order and touting his endorsements from police unions. He then said that “African Americans are living in hell,” saying they are just walking down the street and getting “shot ... being decimated by crime."
Just as Hillary Clinton was inviting debate viewers to visit her site for real-time fact checking, there appeared to be a problem with Donald Trump's own campaign website. For about a 15-minute period, a blank page or an error message appeared when we tried to load the Trump site.
Donald Trump has come out in the first segment of this debate raring to go. Trump has interrupted nearly every answer being given by Hillary Clinton, talking over her time and again. Clinton is sticking to her guns, smiling while Trump speaks and then calling on people to go to her website and see the fact checking being done.