A bipartisan bill introduced in the House Friday would require that contractors building federally funded transportation projects give hiring preference to recent veterans.

The bill introduced by Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.), the ranking Democrat on the transportation committee, would require that state agencies and public transit operators enforce the mandate.

“Our veterans are highly skilled, have demonstrated enormous leadership, and the best way we can support our troops and veterans is by creating jobs for them when they come home,” Rahall said.

Unemployment rates for post-9/11 veterans are higher than those of the general population, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The proposed preferential hiring plan won support from veterans groups.

“The American Legion is very concerned about reducing the ongoing high unemployment among veterans of all of our nation’s conflicts,” said Fang A. Wong, commander of the American Legion. “This construction work will allow them to continue their service to their country by rebuilding our national infrastructure which is similar to the nation-building missions they participated in during their military service.”

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