Led by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R- North Reading) and the Republican Leadership team, the House GOP Caucus was successful in offering, and having adopted, an amendment calling for a $700,000 increase to the Welcome Home Bonus account to provide up to $1,000 bonus payments for residents returning from active deployment. Offered on the heels of President Barack Obama’s announcement of the return of combat troops from Iraq and in advance of Veterans’ Day, the proposed increase in funding will help to ensure benefits for the 11,000 Massachusetts service-members currently deployed around the world.
“We must have the funding and resources in place for the Commonwealth’s service men and women, particularly in light of the President’s announcement of troop withdrawals,” said House Minority Leader Brad Jones. “These brave soldiers are returning to a struggling economy and a bleak job market. By transitioning $700,000 from the states anticipated increase in revenue, we will ensure the better allocation of funding at this point in time and a smooth transition home for the Bay State’s bravest.”
The amendment, filed during debate on the Supplemental Budget, will redirect $700,000from the $395 million increase in anticipated revenue to the Welcome Home Bonus account within the Office of the Treasurer and Receiver-General.
“I am pleased to join the Republican Caucus in offering this allocation of funding,” said Representative George T. Ross. “Our men and women in uniform have done a magnificent job in their service to the United States of America. It would be wrong for us as a governing body to not recognize their service and sacrifice.”
“Our veterans face many obstacles as they return home in this already difficult economy and job market,” said Representative Richard Bastien. “While I am happy to see the wars overseas coming to a conclusion and more of our serve men and women returning home for the holidays, the reality is that many will face an uphill struggle transitioning back into civilian life. It pleases me to see our amendment adopted and the recognition of the House of the importance of assisting our veterans after they have given so much of themselves for our country.”
The Republican Leadership team was joined in offering the amendment, which now stands before the Senate for their approval, by Representatives George T. Ross (R-Attleboro) and Richard Bastien (R-Gardner), Republican members on the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs.