President Biden believes that as Americans, we have a sacred obligation to care for our nations’ veterans and their families – both while they are deployed and after they return home. The American Jobs Plan will help meet this obligation by creating millions of good jobs for veterans and their spouses, growing opportunities for small veteran-owned businesses, and helping ensure the delivery of world-class, state-of-the-art health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The American Jobs Plan addresses the consequences of disinvestment in American infrastructure, while also addressing long-standing racial injustice and confronting the climate crisis and the ambitions of an autocratic China. Like all Americans, veterans and their families will benefit from the historic investments in our transportation infrastructure, electric grid, drinking water systems, broadband access, and our care economy. The plan will make our cities and towns stronger, but also target investments in rural communities where roughly one quarter of our nation’s veterans and their families live.
Specifically, President Biden’s American Jobs Plan will:
Modernize Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities to deliver 21st century care
More than 9 million veterans are enrolled in VA’s health care system, and as a result of their military service, many face significant health care needs. To meet these needs, VA operates the largest integrated health care system in the nation, with more than 1,700 hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities. The median age of U.S. private sector hospitals is 11 years; however, the median age of VA’s portfolio is 58 years, with 69% of VA hospitals over the age of 50. The age and condition of VA facilities demand that we do better by our nation’s veterans. That is why the American Jobs Plan includes $18 billion to modernize VA health care facilities. These investments will pay long-term dividends by offsetting growing costs of older facilities while meeting the health care needs of the veterans of yesterday’s wars, the veterans of today’s wars, and the veterans of the future. Specifically, President Biden’s American Jobs Plan will:
- President Biden has called for $3 billion to address immediate infrastructure needs within VA health care facilities, such as upgrades to support the growing number of women veterans, improvements to utility and building systems for more energy efficient operations, and enhancements to facility access to accommodate aging veterans. This funding will also accelerate ongoing major construction projects to provide access to high quality health care more quickly.
- President Biden has requested $15 billion to replace outdated medical centers with state-of-the-art facilities to provide our veterans the care they deserve. These funds will help replace aging facilities, incorporate a person-centered approach, and adopt best practices from across the U.S. healthcare system. This funding will support replacement of approximately 10-15 of the highest priority facilities.
Create Quality Jobs for Veterans and their Spouses
Roughly 200,000 service members transition from military service each year, the majority of whom will enter the civilian labor force. Many veterans have experienced unemployment and other economic challenges due to the pandemic. President Biden believes all veterans and their spouses deserve civilian lives of opportunity with education and jobs worthy of their skills and talents. As the veteran population grows increasingly diverse to include more women and veterans of color, addressing systemic racism and gender inequality will be particularly important. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan will:
- Protect the health, safety, and rights of workers. President Biden is calling on Congress to provide the federal government with the tools it needs to ensure employers are providing workers with good jobs – including jobs with fair and equal pay, safe and healthy workplaces, and workplaces free from racial, gender, and other forms of discrimination and harassment. In addition to a $10 billion investment in enforcement as part of the plan’s workforce proposals, the President is calling for increased penalties when employers violate workplace safety and health rules.
- Target workforce development opportunities in underserved communities. All of the investments in workforce training in President Biden’s plan will prioritize underserved communities and communities that have struggled in a transforming economy. Specifically, the American Jobs Plan will ensure that new jobs created in clean energy, manufacturing, and infrastructure are readily accessible to women and people of color. This includes training programs like registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships, which will strengthen the pipeline for underserved groups to access these opportunities.
Expand Opportunities for SMALL Veteran-Owned Businesses
Veterans are 45% more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans. The American Jobs Plan includes historic investments to empower all small businesses, including the more than 2.5 million veteran-owned small businesses. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan will:
- Expand small businesses in underserved communities. The American Jobs Plan will create a national network of federally-funded small business incubators and innovation hubs to ensure that all Americans, regardless of race or wealth, have a fair shot at starting and growing their own business.
- Increase engagement in the innovation economy. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $5 billion in federal programs that empower small firms to participate in federal research and research and development that has the potential for commercialization.
- Create a new financing facility for small manufacturers. President Biden is calling on Congress to seed a new financing program to co-invest with private capital in the industrial sector.
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