House bill aims to reduce military spouse unemployment
Members of the military are increasingly becoming the primary earners for families. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, between 12 and 25 percent of military spouses are unemployed, and an additional 25 percent are underemployed. While many military families need dual incomes, obtaining them is an uphill climb. To solve this problem, members of Congress have introduced the Military Spouse Employment Act of 2018 to Congress.
The goal of the legislation is to prioritize hiring of military spouses in the government and to remove barriers that might negatively impact their ability to work. Provisions are included that increase funding for military childcare and education initiatives, like the MyCAA scholarship and Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program.
“We asked the DoD to come up with a bigger plan, better plan, to help military spouses to see what options they have. We want to give them preferences,” said Rep. Donald McEachin, (D-VA), a co-sponsor of the bill. “Some of the most desirable jobs on the military base are federal jobs. Why not give them some preferences in order to get those jobs.”
Co-sponsoring the bill along with Rep. McEachin is Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY). Her district is home to Fort Drum, which has a large population of military families.
“We’re neighbors. She is two doors down in Cannon from me.” said Rep. McEachin. “We’ve just struck up a relationship. There’s still a lot of us that believe that partisanship is at the water’s edge… lord knows that if we can’t get together on our military families, we’ve got big time trouble.”
Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) has also introduced a corresponding bill in the Senate.