4:57 PM EDT

Kevin Brady, R-TX 8th

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 3474) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow employers to exempt employees with health coverage under TRICARE or the Veterans Administration from being taken into account for purposes of the employer mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows:

H.R. 3474

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Hire More Heroes Act of 2013''.

SEC. 2. EMPLOYEES WITH HEALTH COVERAGE UNDER TRICARE OR THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MAY BE EXEMPTED FROM EMPLOYER MANDATE UNDER PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.

(a) In General.--Section 4980H(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code is amended by adding at the end the following:

``(F) EXEMPTION FOR HEALTH COVERAGE UNDER TRICARE OR THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION.--Solely for purposes of determining whether an employer is an applicable large employer under this paragraph for any month, an employer may elect not to take into account for a month as an employee any individual who, for such month, has medical coverage under--

``(i) chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code, including coverage under the TRICARE program, or

``(ii) under a health care program under chapter 17 or 18 of title 38, United States Code, as determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary.''.

(b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.

4:57 PM EDT

Kevin Brady, R-TX 8th

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 3474) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow employers to exempt employees with health coverage under TRICARE or the Veterans Administration from being taken into account for purposes of the employer mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows:

H.R. 3474

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Hire More Heroes Act of 2013''.

SEC. 2. EMPLOYEES WITH HEALTH COVERAGE UNDER TRICARE OR THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MAY BE EXEMPTED FROM EMPLOYER MANDATE UNDER PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.

(a) In General.--Section 4980H(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code is amended by adding at the end the following:

``(F) EXEMPTION FOR HEALTH COVERAGE UNDER TRICARE OR THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION.--Solely for purposes of determining whether an employer is an applicable large employer under this paragraph for any month, an employer may elect not to take into account for a month as an employee any individual who, for such month, has medical coverage under--

``(i) chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code, including coverage under the TRICARE program, or

``(ii) under a health care program under chapter 17 or 18 of title 38, United States Code, as determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in coordination with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary.''.

(b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.

4:58 PM EDT

Kevin Brady, R-TX 8th

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3474, the Hire More Heroes Act, introduced by Representative Rodney Davis of Illinois.

The Hire More Heroes Act will help ease the burden on small businesses while incentivizing them to hire veterans who have found themselves out of work as they return home from overseas.

President Obama has repeatedly said:

If you've got good ideas, bring them to me--let's go.

Well, Mr. President, here is a really good idea. So let's go.

Our veterans have sacrificed for our country, and as they return home they deserve opportunities and they deserve a job.

One thing I routinely hear from my communities back home is that entrepreneurs want to invest in America and they want to grow their businesses. Well, here is an opportunity to do both.

Too often, we use the term that something is a win-win. Well, I can think of no better term. This is a win for businesses who need workers with outstanding skills and ethics, and a win for veterans who just want a job.

The Hire More Heroes Act allows businesses that hire a veteran enrolled in TRICARE or through the VA to not count that veteran towards the 50-employee threshold for triggering the ACA employee mandate. The 50-employee threshold has been a big disincentive for small businesses to grow. If they have more than 50 workers, they fall under that mandate, and their costs go up.

[Time: 17:00]

So firms with 45, 46, 47 workers are very reluctant to grow any bigger, but if they hire a veteran, under this legislation, that won't count for purposes of determining if they have enough workers to trigger the mandate. If that isn't an incentive to hire more veterans, I don't know what it is.

These are veterans who already have health care. They just want and deserve a job. I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense bill.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

4:58 PM EDT

Kevin Brady, R-TX 8th

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3474, the Hire More Heroes Act, introduced by Representative Rodney Davis of Illinois.

The Hire More Heroes Act will help ease the burden on small businesses while incentivizing them to hire veterans who have found themselves out of work as they return home from overseas.

President Obama has repeatedly said:

If you've got good ideas, bring them to me--let's go.

Well, Mr. President, here is a really good idea. So let's go.

Our veterans have sacrificed for our country, and as they return home they deserve opportunities and they deserve a job.

One thing I routinely hear from my communities back home is that entrepreneurs want to invest in America and they want to grow their businesses. Well, here is an opportunity to do both.

Too often, we use the term that something is a win-win. Well, I can think of no better term. This is a win for businesses who need workers with outstanding skills and ethics, and a win for veterans who just want a job.

The Hire More Heroes Act allows businesses that hire a veteran enrolled in TRICARE or through the VA to not count that veteran towards the 50-employee threshold for triggering the ACA employee mandate. The 50-employee threshold has been a big disincentive for small businesses to grow. If they have more than 50 workers, they fall under that mandate, and their costs go up.

[Time: 17:00]

So firms with 45, 46, 47 workers are very reluctant to grow any bigger, but if they hire a veteran, under this legislation, that won't count for purposes of determining if they have enough workers to trigger the mandate. If that isn't an incentive to hire more veterans, I don't know what it is.

These are veterans who already have health care. They just want and deserve a job. I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense bill.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

4:58 PM EDT

Kevin Brady, R-TX 8th

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3474, the Hire More Heroes Act, introduced by Representative Rodney Davis of Illinois.

The Hire More Heroes Act will help ease the burden on small businesses while incentivizing them to hire veterans who have found themselves out of work as they return home from overseas.

President Obama has repeatedly said:

If you've got good ideas, bring them to me--let's go.

Well, Mr. President, here is a really good idea. So let's go.

Our veterans have sacrificed for our country, and as they return home they deserve opportunities and they deserve a job.

One thing I routinely hear from my communities back home is that entrepreneurs want to invest in America and they want to grow their businesses. Well, here is an opportunity to do both.

Too often, we use the term that something is a win-win. Well, I can think of no better term. This is a win for businesses who need workers with outstanding skills and ethics, and a win for veterans who just want a job.

The Hire More Heroes Act allows businesses that hire a veteran enrolled in TRICARE or through the VA to not count that veteran towards the 50-employee threshold for triggering the ACA employee mandate. The 50-employee threshold has been a big disincentive for small businesses to grow. If they have more than 50 workers, they fall under that mandate, and their costs go up.

[Time: 17:00]

So firms with 45, 46, 47 workers are very reluctant to grow any bigger, but if they hire a veteran, under this legislation, that won't count for purposes of determining if they have enough workers to trigger the mandate. If that isn't an incentive to hire more veterans, I don't know what it is.

These are veterans who already have health care. They just want and deserve a job. I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense bill.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

4:58 PM EDT

Kevin Brady, R-TX 8th

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3474, the Hire More Heroes Act, introduced by Representative Rodney Davis of Illinois.

The Hire More Heroes Act will help ease the burden on small businesses while incentivizing them to hire veterans who have found themselves out of work as they return home from overseas.

President Obama has repeatedly said:

If you've got good ideas, bring them to me--let's go.

Well, Mr. President, here is a really good idea. So let's go.

Our veterans have sacrificed for our country, and as they return home they deserve opportunities and they deserve a job.

One thing I routinely hear from my communities back home is that entrepreneurs want to invest in America and they want to grow their businesses. Well, here is an opportunity to do both.

Too often, we use the term that something is a win-win. Well, I can think of no better term. This is a win for businesses who need workers with outstanding skills and ethics, and a win for veterans who just want a job.

The Hire More Heroes Act allows businesses that hire a veteran enrolled in TRICARE or through the VA to not count that veteran towards the 50-employee threshold for triggering the ACA employee mandate. The 50-employee threshold has been a big disincentive for small businesses to grow. If they have more than 50 workers, they fall under that mandate, and their costs go up.

[Time: 17:00]

So firms with 45, 46, 47 workers are very reluctant to grow any bigger, but if they hire a veteran, under this legislation, that won't count for purposes of determining if they have enough workers to trigger the mandate. If that isn't an incentive to hire more veterans, I don't know what it is.

These are veterans who already have health care. They just want and deserve a job. I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense bill.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

5:00 PM EDT

Sander Levin, D-MI 12th

Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

This bill, as has been discussed, encourages veteran employment and the growth of midsize businesses.

For post-9/11 veterans, the unemployment rate has continued to decline. However, the rate of unemployment is still higher than the national average. [Page: H2277]

For February 2014, the unemployment rate for veterans from this period was 9.2 percent higher than the national average of 5.3.

I am so happy that the Republicans, at this moment, are trying to help the ACA work for veterans, for businesses, and for all Americans. I hope we will join in supporting this bill.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

5:00 PM EDT

Sander Levin, D-MI 12th

Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

This bill, as has been discussed, encourages veteran employment and the growth of midsize businesses.

For post-9/11 veterans, the unemployment rate has continued to decline. However, the rate of unemployment is still higher than the national average. [Page: H2277]

For February 2014, the unemployment rate for veterans from this period was 9.2 percent higher than the national average of 5.3.

I am so happy that the Republicans, at this moment, are trying to help the ACA work for veterans, for businesses, and for all Americans. I hope we will join in supporting this bill.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

5:01 PM EDT

Rodney L. Davis, R-IL 13th

Mr. RODNEY DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from the great State of Texas for being here tonight to talk about this important piece of legislation, bipartisan piece of legislation.

The Hire More Heroes Act is a jobs bill. It is a jobs bill that will not only encourage the hiring of veterans but also one that will allow us businesses to expand and grow our economy without being penalized.

H.R. 3474 would exempt veterans who have health insurance through the VA or the DOD from being counted toward the 50-employee limit under ObamaCare's employer mandate.

Today, an estimated 8.9 million veterans receive health coverage through the VA, yet they will still be counted as an employee in need of health coverage under the employer mandate.

This is a commonsense bill simply saying that a veteran who already has coverage through TRICARE or the VA cannot be counted twice. You are either someone in need of health insurance or you are not.

I introduced the Hire More Heroes Act last year in response to an issue raised at one of my veterans advisory board meeting by Brad Lavite, the superintendent of the Madison County Veterans' Assistance Commission. That commission does great work by providing services to approximately 35,000 veterans in southwestern Illinois, including helping those veterans find employment.

Although veterans returning from combat have 5 years to sign up for TRICARE, they are returning to an economy full of hiring freezes, layoffs, and unemployment rates above 9 percent. The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans jumped from 7.9 percent in January to 9.2 percent in February. Our veterans deserve more.

We know that our military members receive some of the best training in the world, and we should do everything we can to encourage businesses to take advantage of those skills by hiring those veterans.

A recently released study by the National Small Business Association found that 91 percent of small businesses saw increases in their health care costs, and two-thirds of their members said it was the reason they have held off new hiring of employees.

It is not a secret that we need to address the true drivers of our skyrocketing health care costs. Families see this every day when they pay their monthly premiums or get a medical bill in the mail.

Placing more and more unnecessary regulations on our small businesses does nothing to address this and only exacerbates the problem by forcing businesses to make up for these costs by cutting hours or preventing pay increases.

Forcing employers to offer health insurance is a much more complicated issue than I think some in Washington thought it was going to be.

With the administration delaying the employer mandate yet again, I think we need to start seriously looking at the issue surrounding the employer mandate, and it starts today with passing H.R. 3474, the Hire More Heroes Act, and the other health care reform bills on the floor today.

I want to thank Brad Lavite again, and all of the workers and volunteers at the Madison County Veterans' Assistance Commission for their assistance they provide to veterans, and encourage my colleagues to vote for this commonsense bill to help veterans find work and assist small businesses in hiring qualified, well-trained employees, while providing much-needed relief from

ObamaCare.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to thank the cosponsors, the bipartisan cosponsors of this commonsense piece of legislation, especially a couple today that are with us on the floor, my good friend, the gentlewoman from Hawaii (Ms. Gabbard), a veteran herself, and my good friend, the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Barr).

5:01 PM EDT

Rodney L. Davis, R-IL 13th

Mr. RODNEY DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from the great State of Texas for being here tonight to talk about this important piece of legislation, bipartisan piece of legislation.

The Hire More Heroes Act is a jobs bill. It is a jobs bill that will not only encourage the hiring of veterans but also one that will allow us businesses to expand and grow our economy without being penalized.

H.R. 3474 would exempt veterans who have health insurance through the VA or the DOD from being counted toward the 50-employee limit under ObamaCare's employer mandate.

Today, an estimated 8.9 million veterans receive health coverage through the VA, yet they will still be counted as an employee in need of health coverage under the employer mandate.

This is a commonsense bill simply saying that a veteran who already has coverage through TRICARE or the VA cannot be counted twice. You are either someone in need of health insurance or you are not.

I introduced the Hire More Heroes Act last year in response to an issue raised at one of my veterans advisory board meeting by Brad Lavite, the superintendent of the Madison County Veterans' Assistance Commission. That commission does great work by providing services to approximately 35,000 veterans in southwestern Illinois, including helping those veterans find employment.

Although veterans returning from combat have 5 years to sign up for TRICARE, they are returning to an economy full of hiring freezes, layoffs, and unemployment rates above 9 percent. The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans jumped from 7.9 percent in January to 9.2 percent in February. Our veterans deserve more.

We know that our military members receive some of the best training in the world, and we should do everything we can to encourage businesses to take advantage of those skills by hiring those veterans.

A recently released study by the National Small Business Association found that 91 percent of small businesses saw increases in their health care costs, and two-thirds of their members said it was the reason they have held off new hiring of employees.

It is not a secret that we need to address the true drivers of our skyrocketing health care costs. Families see this every day when they pay their monthly premiums or get a medical bill in the mail.

Placing more and more unnecessary regulations on our small businesses does nothing to address this and only exacerbates the problem by forcing businesses to make up for these costs by cutting hours or preventing pay increases.

Forcing employers to offer health insurance is a much more complicated issue than I think some in Washington thought it was going to be.

With the administration delaying the employer mandate yet again, I think we need to start seriously looking at the issue surrounding the employer mandate, and it starts today with passing H.R. 3474, the Hire More Heroes Act, and the other health care reform bills on the floor today.

I want to thank Brad Lavite again, and all of the workers and volunteers at the Madison County Veterans' Assistance Commission for their assistance they provide to veterans, and encourage my colleagues to vote for this commonsense bill to help veterans find work and assist small businesses in hiring qualified, well-trained employees, while providing much-needed relief from

ObamaCare.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to thank the cosponsors, the bipartisan cosponsors of this commonsense piece of legislation, especially a couple today that are with us on the floor, my good friend, the gentlewoman from Hawaii (Ms. Gabbard), a veteran herself, and my good friend, the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Barr).

5:05 PM EDT

Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI 2nd

Ms. GABBARD. Mr. Speaker, I am rising today in strong support of the Hire More Heroes Act introduced by my friend, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Rodney Davis).

When he first came to me with this idea, it was a no-brainer that I would want to support this effort because of the key constituencies that it serves.

I think that everyone would agree that the intent or the goal of the Affordable Care Act is to make sure that all people have access to affordable health care. That is a large piece of legislation. It needs some work. It needs some fixing, and this legislation seeks to do that.

First of all, the Affordable Care Act requires employers with 50 of more full-time employees to provide health insurance, or to pay a per-employee fine. This measure does a very important thing that would encourage these small business owners to do two things: to grow, as well as to hire more veterans by exempting those who receive insurance, either from the VA, or those reservists, like I was--I was covered under TRICARE for a long period of time after my deployments. It would make it so these

employers would not have to count these veterans towards that 50 total.

Secondly, this bill serves veterans. We are facing an unfortunate and unacceptable huge number of unemployed veterans, many people who are young and who are capable and coming back from conflicts overseas, and these are veterans who will serve as a huge asset to businesses of any size because they come with a unique amount of training.

They are highly disciplined. They know what it means to work as a member of a team. They know what it means to put the mission first, and they are servant leaders at their very best.

This bill provides an incentive for businesses to hire veterans. This is a commonsense improvement to the Affordable Care Act that will benefit both of these important groups. I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 3474.

5:05 PM EDT

Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI 2nd

Ms. GABBARD. Mr. Speaker, I am rising today in strong support of the Hire More Heroes Act introduced by my friend, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Rodney Davis).

When he first came to me with this idea, it was a no-brainer that I would want to support this effort because of the key constituencies that it serves.

I think that everyone would agree that the intent or the goal of the Affordable Care Act is to make sure that all people have access to affordable health care. That is a large piece of legislation. It needs some work. It needs some fixing, and this legislation seeks to do that.

First of all, the Affordable Care Act requires employers with 50 of more full-time employees to provide health insurance, or to pay a per-employee fine. This measure does a very important thing that would encourage these small business owners to do two things: to grow, as well as to hire more veterans by exempting those who receive insurance, either from the VA, or those reservists, like I was--I was covered under TRICARE for a long period of time after my deployments. It would make it so these

employers would not have to count these veterans towards that 50 total.

Secondly, this bill serves veterans. We are facing an unfortunate and unacceptable huge number of unemployed veterans, many people who are young and who are capable and coming back from conflicts overseas, and these are veterans who will serve as a huge asset to businesses of any size because they come with a unique amount of training.

They are highly disciplined. They know what it means to work as a member of a team. They know what it means to put the mission first, and they are servant leaders at their very best.

This bill provides an incentive for businesses to hire veterans. This is a commonsense improvement to the Affordable Care Act that will benefit both of these important groups. I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 3474.

5:09 PM EDT

Sander Levin, D-MI 12th

Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief because I think the bill speaks for itself, and those who have spoken on its behalf have spoken so eloquently on behalf, especially of the veterans of this country. [Page: H2278]

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

5:09 PM EDT

Sander Levin, D-MI 12th

Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief because I think the bill speaks for itself, and those who have spoken on its behalf have spoken so eloquently on behalf, especially of the veterans of this country. [Page: H2278]

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

5:09 PM EDT

Rodney L. Davis, R-IL 13th

Mr. RODNEY DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, thank you to my colleague from Texas for your support on this bill and for managing it here on the floor tonight. It shows today that bipartisanship does happen in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This is a commonsense bill supported by Republicans and Democrats alike. This is something that comes out from the grass roots in Madison County, Illinois, and now has a chance to become law.

I am humbled by the support that we have seen for this piece of legislation and I, again, urge my colleagues to support the Hire More Heroes Act.

5:09 PM EDT

Rodney L. Davis, R-IL 13th

Mr. RODNEY DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, thank you to my colleague from Texas for your support on this bill and for managing it here on the floor tonight. It shows today that bipartisanship does happen in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This is a commonsense bill supported by Republicans and Democrats alike. This is something that comes out from the grass roots in Madison County, Illinois, and now has a chance to become law.

I am humbled by the support that we have seen for this piece of legislation and I, again, urge my colleagues to support the Hire More Heroes Act.