(Washington, DC) - On Thursday, May 24, 2018, the House of Representatives voted 351 - 66 to approve the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019. This annual bill, which sets the defense and national security policies of the United States, included the provisions of H.R. 5177, The Encouraging Veteran Employment Act of 2018, which was introduced in March by Representative Steve Knight (R-CA).

Under current law, the Department of Defense is authorized to give preferential selection to women-owned and veteran-owned businesses for DOD contracts. The Encouraging Veteran Employment Act would authorize the Department to give the same preferential treatment to businesses that employ veterans as a large percentage of their workforce.

"Studies have shown that veterans still struggle with disproportionately high unemployment rates compared to their civilian counterparts." said Rep. Knight "With the economy growing strong and businesses expanding jobs for everyone, it's important we do what we can to ensure our former service members share in these opportunities. The idea for this bill came from the LIMS Studio in Castaic, which trains veterans in a variety of movie-production skills. Many of the staff are also veterans themselves. The Encouraging Veteran Employment Act will create greater incentives for businesses to hire former service members. This will not only help the veterans who are hired, but will also help businesses by engaging the vast wealth of experience, initiative, and dedication that is a hallmark of our men and women in uniform."

The Encouraging Veteran Employment Act has been endorsed by The American Legion and Paralyzed Veterans of America. Letters from each organization can be read by clicking the links in the previous sentence.

"This bill allows an even playing field to companies that recognize the skills veterans bring with them from their military experience, such as persistence, reliability, conscientiousness, and attention to detail." said Denise H. Rohan, National Commander for The American Legion "The American Legion applauds your leadership in recognizing the necessity of rewarding companies acknowledging the value in hiring our nation's veterans."

"Paralyzed Veterans of America believes [the Encouraging Veteran Employment Act] would also encourage companies to consider the untapped resources embodied in America's veterans with disabilities." said Heather Ansley, Acting Associate Executive Director of Government Relations for Paralyzed Veterans of America "Thank you for undertaking this initiative. We trust your colleagues will recognize the value of this legislation and ensure its successful passage."

"Supporting our nation's heroes is a top priority of mine." said Rep. Knight "We owe it to our veterans to ensure they have a smooth and meaningful transition to civilian life as their military service ends.

Representative Knight is a veteran of the United States Army and member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he sits on the Tactical Air & Land Forces Subcommittee and the Seapower & Projection Forces Subcommittee. The Encouraging Veteran Employment Act is cosponsored by Representative Stephanie Murphy (D-FL). The NDAA now awaits consideration from the U.S. Senate.