Congressman Derek Kilmer

Representing the 6th District of Washington
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Kilmer Bill Aims to Prohibit Discrimination Against Veterans and Servicemembers

Jul 11, 2013
Press Release

After hearing from servicemembers and veterans who have experienced discrimination when seeking employment and housing opportunities, today Representative Derek Kilmer introduced H.R. 2654 the Veterans and Servicemembers Employment Rights and Housing Act of 2013, a bill that would prohibit discrimination against veterans and servicemembers seeking employment or housing opportunities.  This bipartisan legislation - co-sponsored by Representatives Jim Renacci of Ohio and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois - was also introduced today in the US Senate by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

“If you fight for our country, you shouldn’t have to fight for a job when you come home,” said Representative Kilmer. “I’ve worked with a coalition of veterans from all generations to fight for our servicemembers and veterans at the state level and now I’m proud to work at the federal level to ensure that military status isn’t used against anyone looking for a home or a job. I look forward to working with Senator Blumenthal, Representative Renacci, and Representative Duckworth on this important issue.”

“Shamefully, veterans who served our country return from deployment and too often struggle to find a job or a place to call home,” said Senator Blumenthal. “By making military service a protected status, this bill will ensure that those who sacrificed to keep us safe are not discriminated against when they return home.”

“Our service members have fought hard to protect the freedoms we are so blessed to enjoy in America, often risking their lives in the process,” said Representative Renacci. “Under no circumstances should the brave men and women of our Armed Forces face job or housing discrimination based on the service they provided our country, especially considering the sacrifices their families have already made in their absence. I am proud to join with this bipartisan group of Representatives and Senators to ensure our veterans are not punished once they return home having safely completed their missions.”

Stewart Hickey, AMVETS National Executive Director, said “AMVETS is appreciative of Senator Blumenthal and Congressman Kilmer’s leadership in introducing this important and long overdue legislation that will grant American veterans freedom from discrimination in both the workplace and housing. The same rights these veterans fought to preserve for their fellow Americans will now be afforded to them upon passage of this bill.” 

The Veterans and Servicemembers Employment Rights and Housing Act of 2013 will add to anti-discrimination laws for housing and employment to ensure that military status isn’t used against anyone looking for a home or a job.  The bill will provide comprehensive assistance to veterans of all eras and provide legal recourse for those who choose to seek it. 

Representative Kilmer passed similar legislation at the state level after hearing testimony from veterans describing instances of discrimination based off their military or veteran status.  This bill would provide the same protections for all servicemembers and veterans at the federal level.

The Servicemember and Veterans Employment Rights and Housing Act is endorsed by AMVETS, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the National Guard Association of the United States.