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house Bill H.R. 244

Omnibus: Funding the Gov’t Through September With $1.1 Trillion in Spending

Argument in favor

This omnibus spending bill represents a compromise between Republicans and Democrats and Congress, and will provide funding through the rest of fiscal year 2017.

Elizabeth's Opinion
···
02/13/2017
If anything, there should be a discipline or reprimand for companies and businesses who don't have a track record of hiring men and women who are/have served our country! Yes, I believe an incentive program would encourage them. However, I feel it's very sad that we would need an incentive program to hire people who have already served us, the people.
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Jay's Opinion
···
02/13/2017
I'm a veteran who has had a ton of problems finding a good job. When I first got out of the navy employers were afraid to hire me because they thought I'd get deployed again or in some circumstances that I was suffering from PTSD and therefor a live wire in their eyes. Non of that is true, however, public opinion changes based on trends. In 2009 every war movie was about a serviceman-woman suffering from PTSD. By the time people had moved past the idea we are all damaged it was too late for me. Nobody seemed to care, and I was under qualified to make it in America and too old to feel comfortable making a big career change.
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Lexi's Opinion
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02/13/2017
We shouldnt have to bribe businesses to hire vets but if it'll be effective it will be beneficial to our vets!!
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Argument opposed

This legislation cuts funding for too many vital federal programs, from renewable energy to blocking all new funding for Obamacare. A shutdown would be preferable.

Stephanie's Opinion
···
02/13/2017
There are 1000s of employers ready to hire veterans. Many of those veterans are not capable of sustaining their job/career/service path. They need mental health services. Companies do not need another reason to profit from veterans. Ethical health services are needed.
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Amanda's Opinion
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02/13/2017
I feel that we should use any money towards vet programs that actually add value. Companies and businesses can find incentive in hiring vets from something other than a medallion, maybe our senators and representatives should be reaching out to local and big businesses about ways they can help out our local veterans.
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jameslj's Opinion
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02/14/2017
Get the government out of business. Instead of this, maybe stop creating so many damn veterans in these useless wars.
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bill Progress


  • EnactedMay 5th, 2017
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed March 21st, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
  • The house Passed May 3rd, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 309 Yea / 118 Nay
      house Committees
      Economic Opportunity
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedJanuary 4th, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 244?

Update May 1, 2017: This legislation was co-opted through the amendment process to serve as the legislative vehicle for a $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government through the end of fiscal year 2017. Originally it was known as the HIRE Vets Act, and created a medallion program that awards to businesses which have a verified track record of recruiting, employing, and retaining veterans and provide community and charitable services to the veteran community.

In its current form, this bill would provide $1.163 trillion to fund the government through the end of fiscal year 2017 on September 30. It would meet the base discretionary spending cap of $1.07 trillion imposed by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, while providing additional funding for national defense, border security, and other emergency needs. A total of $93.5 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) / Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) funding would be provided to combat ISIS, support U.S. allies, and fund diplomatic and humanitarian missions. Emergency and disaster funding would total $8.1 billion to address needs arising from fires, floods, and other extreme weather events.

Defense: $593 billion in funding would go to defense, an increase of $19.9 billion over the last fiscal year, of which $14.8 billion goes to OCO / GWOT accounts. Military personnel and pay accounts for $132.3 billion of the funding, and a 2.1 percent pay raise for the military would be fully funded instead of a 1.6 percent raise as requested by the previous administration. This would allow the military to provide for 1,305,900 active-duty troops and 813,200 Guard and Reserve troops. Other military appropriations include:

  • $223 billion for operations and maintenance, including additional funding to address readiness shortfalls.

  • $123.3 billion for equipment procurement and upgrades, including 13 Navy ships and 74 F-35 aircraft among other items.

  • $73.7 billion for research, development, testing, and evaluation of new defense technologies.

  • $34.1 billion for the Defense Health Program to provide care for troops, military families, and retirees. Included in this total is $312 million for cancer research, $296 million for sexual assault prevention and response programs, and $125 million for traumatic brain injury and psychological health research.

Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education: $161 billion would go to these three agencies, a decrease of $934 million from fiscal year 2016. In general, this funding goes toward medical research, public health, and biodefense, as well as support for the comprehensive approach to combat the opioid epidemic. No new funding for Obamacare would be provided under this bill. Other provisions of this section include:

  • Rescinding the budget of Obamacare’s Independent Patient Advisory Board, prohibiting a taxpayer bailout of insurance companies through its Risk Corridor program, and prevents the Prevention and Public Health Fund from being used to fund Obamacare.

  • Health benefits for retired coal mine workers that’d otherwise expire would be made permanent. This spending would be fully offset.

  • All longstanding restrictions on the federal funding of abortion (such as the Hyde Amendment) would be extended by this bill. It also increases funding for sexual risk avoidance programs (formerly known as abstinence education) by 50 percent.

Agriculture: $153.4 billion in mandatory and discretionary funding, an increase of $12.8 billion that’s driven in part by growth in mandatory spending. Discretionary funding would decrease by $623 million. Funding in this section of the bill would go to programs supporting U.S. agriculture, rural communities, food and drug safety, and nutrition for those in need. Provisions of this section include:

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, would receive $78.5 billion in mandatory spending. This total is $2.4 billion less than the year before due to declining enrollment, although a reserve of $3 billion would be included to account .

  • Child nutrition programs would get $22.8 billion in mandatory funding, an increase of $644 million from the previous year. This money goes to providing free or reduced-price school lunches and snacks for 31 million qualifying children. An Obama-era school meal regulation would no longer be implemented, allowing for more flexibility in providing whole grains and milk while preventing changes to sodium standards.

Transportation, Housing & Urban Development: $57.7 billion would be provided to these two agencies, up $550 million from the year prior, which funds land, air, and sea infrastructure projects and housing for low-income or vulnerable households. Transportation funding levels match those approved in the FAST Act in 2015. No funding would be provided for high-speed rail.

Commerce, Justice, and Science: $56.6 billion would be allocated to funding federal law enforcement, national security, reducing drug use, trade enforcement, and space exploration — up $833 million from fiscal year 2016. Funding to the Dept. of Justice and Dept. of Commerce would be reduced by $143 million and $9 million, respectively, while NASA would get an additional $368 million. Notable provisions of this section include:

  • A prohibition on funding to house, transfer, or release any Guantanamo Bay detainee.

  • The continuation of all existing policies related to abortion.

  • A prohibition on NASA and the Office of Science and Technology Policy engaging in bilateral activities with China unless the activities are authorized or vetted.

  • Prohibitions on “gunwalking” or implementation of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty would remain in effect.

State & Foreign Operations: $53.1 billion would be provided, down $594 million from the year prior when extraordinary costs for famine prevention, relief, and mitigation are excluded. Of this, $16.5 billion is OCO funding that’d support operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other areas of instability and conflict while another $990 million would go to international famine prevention. Provisions of this section include:

  • International security assistance would total $8.975 billion, up $90 million from the year before. Of this, $3.175 billion would go to Israel, while the militaries of Ukraine, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia would also get assistance.

  • Bilateral assistance would total $24.7 billion, which would go to programs that support development and democracy, global health, and humanitarian aid in foreign countries.

  • Funding for assessed payments to the United Nations (UN) would be reduced by $640 million from fiscal year 2016. No funding would be made available to the UN Human Rights Council or the UN Climate Change Panel.

  • Restrictions on providing aid to the Palestinian Authority would be maintained, and would be prohibited altogether if it forms a unity government with Hamas.

  • Foreign aid couldn’t be spent on abortions, go to organizations that support coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization, and family planning programs receiving funding would need to be voluntary.

Homeland Security: $42.4 billion, an increase of $1.45 billion from the year before, would go to providing for border and immigration enforcement, customs activities, protection against cyber terrorism, natural disaster response, and smuggling operations into the U.S. It’d provide for additional hiring of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel and expand detention and removal programs for unauthorized immigrants. The Secret Service would receive an additional $131 million for additional costs related to protecting the president.

Energy & Water: $37.8 billion would be provided for national security efforts including nuclear weapons activities and energy and water infrastructure investments, an increase of $586 million over the previous year. Provisions of this section include:

  • Renewable energy programs are cut by $808 million compared to the Obama administration’s final budget request.

  • Funding for research and development into protecting the electric grid against cyberattacks and extreme weather events would be increased by $24 million to a total of $230 million.

  • An Obama administration proposal to speed up the dismantling of nuclear weapons would be rejected.

  • An additional $30 million would be provided for operating the nation’s repository for defense nuclear waste.

Interior & Environment: $32.28 billion, an increase of $121 million, would go to the Dept. of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Forest Service, the Indian Health Service and other independent and related agencies. Notable provisions of this section include:

  • The size of the EPA would be capped at 15,000; it would be prohibited from changing agricultural exemptions to the Clean Water Act, and also prohibited from regulating the lead content of ammunition and fishing tackle. The EPA is also required to review the backlog of mining permits.

  • The Obama administration’s proposal to increase oil and gas inspection fees is rejected, as is an attempt to raise fees on ranchers for grazing on federal land. Rulemakings or reviews related to the greater sage grouse’s status under the Endangered Species Act would be delayed for one year.

Financial Services & General Gov’t: $21.5 billion would be provided under this section, a decrease of $2 billion over the prior year. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would see its budget frozen at the level it was at in 2016, and it’d be prohibited from doing the following:

  • Finalizing a proposed regulation related to political activities and the tax-exempt status of 501(c)(4) organizations.

  • Awarding bonuses or rehiring former employees unless their conduct and tax compliance is considered.

  • Targeting individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights.

  • Determining the tax-exempt status of an organization at the request of the White House.

The District of Columbia also receives its funding from this section. DC’s school voucher program, created by the SOAR Act, would be reauthorized through calendar year 2019. The prohibition on federal and local funds from being used for abortion or marijuana legalization would be maintained, as would the use of federal funds for needle exchanges in the District.

Legislative Branch: $4.4 billion would be provided for the operations of the House, Senate, up $77 million from fiscal year 2016. The Capitol Police, Architect of the Capitol, Library of Congress, and Government Accountability Office are some of the notable entities getting funding in this section.

Impact

The entirety of the federal government and any individual, entity, or foreign government that receives assistance from it.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 244

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) said of this legislation:

“This package of the remaining Appropriations bills is the result of over a year’s worth of careful and dedicated efforts to closely examine federal programs to make the best possible use of every tax dollar. This legislation will fund critical federal government activities, including our national defense, and enact responsible funding decisions to target U.S. investments where they are needed the most. It also maintains and enhances policies that bolster economic growth and support the core values that our nation is built upon. It is time that we complete this essential work. It is a solid bill that reflects our common values and that will help move our nation forward, and I urge its quick approval by the Congress and the White House.”


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: U.S. Capitol / Public Domain)

AKA

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017

Official Title

Making appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017, and for other purposes.

    If anything, there should be a discipline or reprimand for companies and businesses who don't have a track record of hiring men and women who are/have served our country! Yes, I believe an incentive program would encourage them. However, I feel it's very sad that we would need an incentive program to hire people who have already served us, the people.
    Like (125)
    Follow
    Share
    There are 1000s of employers ready to hire veterans. Many of those veterans are not capable of sustaining their job/career/service path. They need mental health services. Companies do not need another reason to profit from veterans. Ethical health services are needed.
    Like (666)
    Follow
    Share
    I feel that we should use any money towards vet programs that actually add value. Companies and businesses can find incentive in hiring vets from something other than a medallion, maybe our senators and representatives should be reaching out to local and big businesses about ways they can help out our local veterans.
    Like (172)
    Follow
    Share
    Get the government out of business. Instead of this, maybe stop creating so many damn veterans in these useless wars.
    Like (126)
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    The HIRE Vets Act got co-opted by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 - Keep reading below, but be sure and take your blood pressure medication, 'cause you're gonna need it! I AM ABSOLUTELY LIVID ABOUT THIS SPENDING BILL! Text of Bill: https://rules.house.gov/sites/republicans.rules.house.gov/files/115/OMNI/CPRT-115-HPRT-RU00-SAHR244-AMNT.pdf This HUGE amount that Congress is wanting to authorize is OUTRAGEOUS! According to the Associated Press, "The 1,665-page bill agreed to on Sunday is the product of weeks of negotiations. It was made public in the predawn hours Monday and is tentatively scheduled for a House vote on Wednesday." Hmmm, that doesn't give lawmakers much time to read and mull over the details of this bill! 1. No defunding of Planned "Parenthood"! 2. No defunding of sanctuaries! 3. $295 million to bail out Puerto Rico! Thank Pelosi for that! 4. Democrats were successful in repelling many conservative policy “riders” that sought to overturn dozens of Obama-issued regulations. 5. Trump’s request for additional immigration agents was denied. 6. Allows the DHS to import at least 20,000 extra foreign blue-collar workers for seasonal jobs in the United States, instead of requiring companies to recruit, train, and pay marginalized Americans. (See: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/05/01/paul-ryan-expands-h-2b-blue-collar-outsourcing-program-2017/ ) All I can say is, the GOP has thumbed its nose at the people who voted for them too many times! The Establishment RINOs have GOT TO GO! I'm SICK OF BROKEN PROMISES AND DECEPTION! THE FEDERAL BUDGET IS NEVER GOING TO GET BALANCED, AND OUR NATIONAL DEBT IS JUST GOING TO KEEP GROWING UNLESS CONGRESS STARTS SERIOUSLY DOWNSIZING THE FEDERAL BUREAUCRACY! THAT MEANS SHUTTING DOWN SOME DEPARTMENTS AND/OR HALTING MANY OF THEIR "PROGRAMS". IT WILL ALSO MEAN CUTTING BACK OUR "FEDERAL AID" AND GETTING THE UNITED NATIONS OUT OF OUR POCKETBOOK! THAT'S JUST FOR STARTERS! THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST BE MADE TO GO ON A SERIOUS "DIET" AND LOSE A LOT OF WEIGHT! __________________________________ Lawmakers settle on $1T plan to avoid US gov’t shutdown by The Associated Press, 1 May 2017 WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers on Monday unveiled a huge $1 trillion-plus spending bill that would fund most government operations through September but would deny President Donald Trump money for a border wall and rejects his proposed cuts to popular domestic programs. The 1,665-page bill agreed to on Sunday is the product of weeks of negotiations. It was made public in the predawn hours Monday and is tentatively scheduled for a House vote on Wednesday. The catchall spending bill would be the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to advance during Trump’s short tenure in the White House. While losing on funding for the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump won a $15 billion down payment on his request to strengthen the military, though that too fell short of what he requested. The measure funds the remainder of the 2017 budget year, through Sept. 30, rejecting cuts to popular domestic programs targeted by Trump such as medical research and infrastructure grants. Successful votes later this week would also clear away any remaining threat of a government shutdown — at least until the Oct. 1 start of the 2018 budget year. Trump has submitted a partial 2018 budget promising a whopping $54 billion, 10 percent increase for the Pentagon from current levels, financed by cutting to foreign aid and other nondefense programs by an equal amount. Negotiators on the pending measure, however, rejected a smaller $18 billion package of cuts and instead slightly increased funding for domestic programs. Democrats were quick to praise the deal. “This agreement is a good agreement for the American people, and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a key force in the talks. “The bill ensures taxpayer dollars aren’t used to fund an ineffective border wall, excludes poison pill riders, and increases investments in programs that the middle class relies on, like medical research, education and infrastructure.” Some Republican conservatives, however, were wary. “I think you’re going to see conservatives have some real concerns with this legislation,” Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said on CNN, citing domestic spending obtained by Democrats and other issues. “We told (voters) we were going to do a short-term spending bill that was going to come due at the end of April so that we could fight on these very issues, and now it looks like we’re not going to do that.” Trump said at nearly every campaign stop last year that Mexico would pay for the 2,000-mile (3218.54-kilometer) border wall, a claim Mexican leaders have repeatedly rejected. The administration sought some $1.4 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars for the wall and related costs in the spending bill, but Trump later relented and said the issue could wait until September. Trump, however, obtained $1.5 billion for border security measures such as 5,000 additional detention beds, an upgrade in border infrastructure and technologies such as surveillance. The measure is assured of winning bipartisan support in votes this week; the House and Senate have until midnight Friday to pass the measure to avert a government shutdown. It’s unclear, however, how much support the measure will receive from GOP conservatives such as Jordan and how warmly it will be received by the White House. Democrats played a strong hand in the talks since their votes are needed to pass the bill, even though Republicans control both the White House and Congress. As a result, the measure doesn’t look much different than the deal that could have been struck on President Barack Obama’s watch last year. But Republicans are eager to move on to other issues such as overhauling the tax code and reviving their moribund effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s health care law. “The omnibus (spending bill) is in sharp contrast to President Trump’s dangerous plans to steal billions from lifesaving research, instead increasing funding for the NIH (National Institutes of Health) by $2 billion,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said in a statement that nonetheless fell short of endorsing the bill outright. While the measure would peacefully end a battle over the current budget year, the upcoming cycle is sure to be even more difficult. Republicans have yet to reveal their budget plans, and battles between Trump and Congress over annual agency budgets could grind this summer’s round of spending bills to a halt. Among the final issues resolved was a Democratic request to help the cash-strapped government of Puerto Rico with its Medicaid burden, a top Pelosi priority. The California Democrat and others in her party came up short of the $500 million or so they had sought but won $295 million for the island, more than Republicans had initially offered. Democrats were successful in repelling many conservative policy “riders” that sought to overturn dozens of Obama-issued regulations. Such moves carry less urgency for Republicans now that Trump controls the regulatory apparatus. House Republicans succeeded in funding a private school vouchers program for students in Washington, D.C.’s troubled school system through 2019. GOP leaders decided against trying to use the must-do spending bill to “defund” Planned Parenthood. The White House also backed away from language to take away grants from “sanctuary cities” that do not share information about people’s immigration status with federal authorities. Trump’s request for additional immigration agents was denied and the IRS budget would be frozen at $11.6 billion. http://www.breitbart.com/news/lawmakers-settle-on-1t-plan-to-avoid-us-govt-shutdown/
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    I'm a veteran who has had a ton of problems finding a good job. When I first got out of the navy employers were afraid to hire me because they thought I'd get deployed again or in some circumstances that I was suffering from PTSD and therefor a live wire in their eyes. Non of that is true, however, public opinion changes based on trends. In 2009 every war movie was about a serviceman-woman suffering from PTSD. By the time people had moved past the idea we are all damaged it was too late for me. Nobody seemed to care, and I was under qualified to make it in America and too old to feel comfortable making a big career change.
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    a medallion? Let's put that money to actual good use, shall we. Fund Vet centers, Vet continuing education, VA Hospitals and care. There are plenty of holes that money could fill.
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    We shouldnt have to bribe businesses to hire vets but if it'll be effective it will be beneficial to our vets!!
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    Any incentives for our veterans should be encouraged
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    They're already benefiting from vets! Put $ into assisting vets by learning how to transfer back into civilian life(I.e. Mental/physical fitness) help them get better housing; no vet should be homeless!!
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    Free Market economy. If the vet isn't the best person for the job then he shouldn't get it. The freer Americas market is, the higher the standard of living around the world is. I love our vets. They are noble people, but the free market economy is also a noble idea that I believe hurts some in the short run like our vets but makes everybody better off in the long run.
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    We need a lot more funding toward vets, but the money should be used for programs that help vets access their benefits, attain quality mental health services, and be aided in matriculating back into civilian life. We already have tax incentives for companies that hire vets; they don't need gold stars, too.
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    Money should go to the VA instead or equivalency certifications that allow vets to use their training in applicable settings without red tape getting in the way. For example, medics should not have to retrain to work as nurses or emts if they already have the training.
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    I think that this is the right direction, but the incentive is kind of stupid. If this was part of a larger bill incentivizing hiring, it would be better. Maybe permanent tax credits for hiring and retaining veterans. If vets are having trouble finding work, let's actually do something that'll help them find it.
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    Medals?! Their idea is to give out medals? Time to put your money where mouth is, if you support vets, fund VA, stop sending them to war, give them mental health support once the return and training so they can compete with people that spent their twenties in school & training for the workforce. Medallions?!? Are we serious?!?
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    If you are a good person you hire a veteran without a Reward program. You hire them because they are the best person for that job. I am a small business owner. I do not need a Reward to do the right thing.
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    Veterans should never be used as political props.
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    WE owe our vets so much This is just one step in the process
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    I am continually amazed that we must financially reward the business sector to hire Veterans without whom the massive corporate income derived from overseas conflicts would be impossible! Instead, they pressure the legislature to award Veterans bones by proclaiming a pittance of corporate profits to various programs that support them. This way, the piecemeal nature of available funds for assistance require our vets to do all the legwork to take advantage of the programs, ensuring that much of the funding will go unclaimed or unapplied for. 🙄😡
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    A medallion does not sound like a viable economic incentive for hiring veterans. If it is I would like to see the studies showing so. Hiring veterans is not like driving a taxi, where there is a limited amount of medallions to provide a high demand service. The veteran demand for jobs is higher than business demand for hiring veterans. We need legislation that will ensure benefits to a business for hiring vets. Creating a medallion market to hire vets just sounds misaligned with reality.
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