Congressman Paul Cook

Representing the 8th District of California
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Rep. Paul Cook and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduce Bipartisan Bill

Jul 29, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON- Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D- HI), introduced HR 3286, the HIRE Vets Act of 2015.

This bipartisan bill would promote private sector recruiting, hiring, and retaining of men and women who served honorably in the U.S. military through a voluntary and efficient program. Specifically, it would create an awards program recognizing the meaningful, verifiable efforts undertaken by employers – both large and small – to hire and retain veterans. Cook and Gabbard designed the program to be self-funded.

Through the U.S. Department of Labor, the HIRE Vets Act would allow businesses to display “HIRE Vets Medallions” on products and marketing materials. These medallions would be awarded as part of a four-tiered system – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum – associated with specific hiring and retention goals each year.

The program also establishes similar tiered awards for small and mid-sized businesses with less than 500 employees. To ensure proper oversight, the Secretary of Labor would be required to provide Congress with annual reports on the success of the program with regard to veteran employment and retention results.

Rep. Paul Cook said, “The HIRE Vets Act is an opportunity for Americans to see which companies truly live up to the employment promises they make to veterans. Veterans who serve this country honorably shouldn’t struggle to find employment, and this bill creates an innovative system to encourage and recognize employers who make veterans a priority in their hiring practices.”

Rep.Tulsi Gabbard said, “Through their service, veterans develop unique skills, experience, and leadership that make them especially valuable to employers. There are many obstacles veterans face as they transition from military to civilian life, but finding a job should not be one of them. Our legislation will both incentivize employers to hire veterans, and recognize employers that provide a supportive work environment to retain veteran employees.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a twice-deployed combat veteran and member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. She continues to serve as a Military Police Captain in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.