Congressman Kerry Bentivolio

Representing the 11th District of Michigan

Bentivolio Introduces Bipartisan Veterans’ Jobs Bill

Jul 23, 2013
Press Release
Bill to Give Qualified Members of the Reserve Components Tiered Preference in Hiring for Civil Service Jobs

Bentivolio Introduces Bipartisan Veterans’ Jobs Bill

Bill to Give Qualified Members of the Reserve Components Tiered Preference in Hiring for Civil Service Jobs

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Tim Walz (MN-01), Jeff Denham (CA-10), Jackie Speier (CA-14) and Kerry Bentivolio (MI-11) introduced legislation to give qualified members of the Military Reserve Components tiered preference in hiring for civil service jobs.  The Military Reserve Jobs Act of 2013, H.R. 2875 will promote the hiring of Reservists into the federal workforce.

“We must ensure our service members have the opportunity to find meaningful careers that allow them to achieve the American Dream; to utilize their skills, support their families, and have passion for their work,” said Rep. Walz, Co-Chair of the National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus and the highest ranking enlisted soldier to ever serve in Congress. “For many veterans, careers with the federal government present a fantastic opportunity to continue their lifelong mission of public service and achieve this goal.”

“After more than a decade of sustained deployments overseas, our guardsmen and reservists face some of the highest unemployment rates of any group in the nation,” said Rep. Denham. “By giving reservists veterans’ preference in federal hiring decisions, we honor their service to our nation.”

“We owe a big thanks to our veterans for their selfless service to our great nation,” said Rep. Bentivolio. “This bill honors their sacrifice by helping them gain employment after they have completed their duty in the military.”

Although the brave men and women of the Military Reserve Components stand ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice, they do not qualify for veterans’ preference if they have never been deployed on active duty. 

The National Guard Bureau estimates that approximately 159,400 Army National Guard soldiers (44 percent of the total force) and 73,700 Air National Guard airmen (70 percent of the total force) serve without having qualified for veterans’ preference. 

The Military Reserve Jobs Act of 2013 will close the gap for Reservists who may not qualify for veterans’ preference points and promote the hiring of Reserve Component members into the federal workforce, giving our Reservists the opportunity to continue a career in public service. 

The bill would implement a tiered “Military Reserve” hiring preference for members of the Reserve Components who do not otherwise qualify for preference under existing laws.  Under the bill, a qualified member of the Reserve Component would be able to claim a 3-point, 4-point, or 5-point preference depending on their length of service.

Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have introduced similar legislation in the Senate.

The tiered system in the legislation would work as follows:

Tier I: A member of the Reserve Component may claim a 3-point Military Reserve preference when they have met each of the following requirements:

  1. Successfully completed basic military training or officer candidate training.
  2. Has incurred a 6-year commitment with a Reserve Component.

Tier II: A member of the Reserve Component may claim a 4-point Military Reserve preference when they have met each of the following requirements:

  1. Has completed 10-years of satisfactory service (earned a minimum of 50 retirement points per year) with a Reserve Component.
  2. Continues to serve within a Reserve Component.

Tier III: A Reserve Component member who retires after 20 or more years of service, but is not yet receiving a retirement annuity, may claim a 5-point Military Reserve preference.

In addition to ensuring Reserve Component members service is recognized in the hiring process, the bipartisan Walz legislation also brings the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) in line with other government agencies by creating an appeals process for all veterans if their preference rights are violated. The VHA is currently the only non-intelligence agency that is lacking an appeals process.

There is no reason why an Army Doctor or Navy Corpsman shouldn’t be given federal hiring preference when applying for a job to care for the same soldiers and Marines they cared for while in service.