Today, President Barack Obama addressed the National American Legion Conference at the Minneapolis Convention Center, praising the former military members for their strength and their service to the country, and at the same time addressing the economic trials that are affecting them, just as they are affecting many in the nation.
In his speech, Obama touted the administrations efforts to help veterans, including better health care, ending homelessness and addressing job creation to assist veterans, who are unemployed in record number compared to the general population, at roughly 13 percent.
However, the president admitted it hasn’t been enough, that the economy must grow faster, and for that to happen, we need Congress to work better. “We need to break the partisan gridlock in Washington.”
Obama stated that upholding the commitment to veterans is a “moral” imperative, explaining his increase in VA funding and veterans benefits, something he intends to continue. “We can not, we will not and we must not balance our budget on the back of military veterans. As our commander in chief, I will not allow it.”
Obama also re-pledged himself to the mission of ending homelessness for veterans. “We must make agencies work together to make sure every vet who has served in America has a home in America.”
Finally, he talked about a specific jobs plan for veterans, including new training, college educations, and increasing federal hiring of veterans. And starting in September they will create a “reverse boot camp” of job training and credentialing that will translate their military experience into professional skills to help veterans be hired in the private sector. He will also propose tax credits for companies who employ veterans and wounded veterans when congress ends their recess and meets again.
“These are the responsibilities we must fulfill, not just when it’s easy, not just when we are flush with cash, but always.”
Photo from whitehouse.gov