Nick DiFrancesco (ND): You were successful in your re-election bid back in November with a substantial margin of victory. What are some of the major policy objectives you hope to accomplish during your second term?
Senator Robert p. Casey, JR. (RC): I am grateful and humbled that the people of Pennsylvania re-elected me to a second term in the United States Senate. Around Pennsylvania, and the country, the message is loud and clear; families are struggling and more needs to be done to create jobs. I will continue to advocate for policies that benefit small businesses and middle class families – their success is the measure of our overall economic success. We also need to focus on cutting spending while preserving essential programs.
(ND): On that note, you worked on several jobs-related issues during your first term including a measure that would help returning veterans find employment. What piece of legislation do you feel has had the most positive impact in the past six years?
(RC): I am extremely proud of my work on veterans issues throughout my first term in office especially my work on veterans employment issues. One of the biggest accomplishments for veterans employment was the passage of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which was signed into law on November 20, 2011. This legislation makes businesses that hire veterans who have been searching for work for at least four weeks, but less than six months, eligible for a tax credit of up to $2,400 per each veteran hired. Businesses that hire a veteran who has been looking for a job for at least six months would receive a tax credit worth up to $5,600.If a Pennsylvania business hires a veteran with a service-connected disability who has been seeking work for at least six months, that company would be eligible for tax credits worth up to $9,600. I was proud to be a cosponsor and to have parts of my Veteran Transition Assistance Program Audit Act included in the bill. This provision called on the GAO to issue a report every two years on transition assistance programs. This will ensure that the programs our veterans are using are assisting them in effective ways. Unemployment among our veterans is a national crisis, and this bill will give our brave service members the skills they need to compete in today’s competitive job market. While we have worked hard on this issue, the unemployment rate among our nations veterans remains high and we must continue to work together to alleviate this problem.
Read the full interview in January’s issue of Transactions. Aren’t a subscriber? Visit the Transactions page on this website or call PACB at 717-231-7447 to start receiving the magazine.