Obama Joins Forces With the First Lady at End of Bus Tour

Michelle Obama announces initiative to hire returning veterans.

Posted: 10/19/2011 05:17 PM EDT
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama

Imagine disrupting your family’s lives and risking your own to protect the nation from terrorist and other attacks only to return home to a bleak economic climate that leaves you struggling to find a job. It’s a scenario that occurs far too frequently and one that President Obama told a group of veterans at the Joint Base Langley-Eustis military facility in Hampton, Virginia, is “not right” and “doesn’t make sense.”

 

“We ask our men and women in uniform to leave their families, our guardsmen and reservists to leave their jobs. We ask you to fight, to sacrifice, to risk your lives for your country. The last thing you should have to do is fight for a job when you come home,” Obama said.

 

Joined by First Lady Michelle Obama on the final leg of his three-day bus tour, the president dared Congress to vote for or against a provision in his $447 billion jobs package that would provide tax credits of between $5,600 and $9,600 to employers who hire veterans.

 

Obama said that when he proposed the idea during a joint session of Congress, when he unveiled the American Jobs Act, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle stood up and applauded it. Now, he said, he’s calling on them to make a choice about whether or not they want to provide businesses with an incentive to hire returning vets who’ve risked their lives for the country.

 

“So when it comes for a vote in the Senate, I expect to get votes from both sides of the aisle. Don’t just applaud about it, vote for it,” he said.

 

Michelle Obama had good news for the crowd and announced that 270 private sector companies “of all shapes and sizes” have committed to hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses over the next two years. The businesses include major corporations, such as Proctor and Gamble, Tyson Foods and Hewlett-Packard. She said that the firms had made the commitment because it’s the right thing to do and good for their bottom lines.

 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor Wednesday, once again criticized the president’s visits to North Carolina and Virginia this week. He said that it was "completely preposterous" for the president "to be riding around on a bus saying we should raise taxes on the very folks who create jobs."

(Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters)

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