Announcement from the Office of Representative Marilyn Strickland.
Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced legislation aimed at advancing contracting opportunities for spousal-owned businesses. Supporting the employment of military spouses is not only the right thing to do, it helps the military remain a competitive place to serve. This legislation has been approved by the US Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce. The original co-sponsors of the bill are Representatives Gwen Moore (WI-04) and André Carson (IN-07). Please find the text of the invoice here.
“Military spouses serve our nation in many meaningful ways, but employment discrimination, lack of adequate or affordable child care, the pandemic and other challenges continue to plague the nation. their ability to remain employed. It is right that we make sure that resources are available for those who serve, and their families, to support themselves. By helping military spouses thrive, this legislation gives military families the support they deserve and builds an inclusive economy for our communities, ” said MP Strickland.
“24% of military spouses were unemployed in the past decade, but COVID-19 has created crisis unemployment of almost 40%. The average American household needs two incomes to survive. It is time for military spouses to be recognized as a set aside market by the government so that they can compete for business in their own backyard ”, said Jaime Chapman, COO and Co-Founder, US Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce.
According to a Blue Star Families Annual Survey of Military Families, in 2019, military spouses were faced with an unemployment rate of 24%, of which nearly 77% declared themselves to be underemployed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that number has only increased – a report from the National Military Spouse Network found that the unemployment rate was 25% for military spouses in 2021. According to the Washington State Department of Job Security56% of military spouses report being underemployed, and military spouses earn 27% less on average than their non-military spouses.
The Joint Military Contractors Act would help close the unemployment gap and support joint military contractors by giving them an advantage in competing for federal contracts. Specifically, the Military Conjoint Entrepreneurs Act would create a 5-year federal pilot contracting program for small businesses owned by military spouses. The Small Business Administration would also need to submit a report to Congress at the end of the program with data on the number of businesses that have participated in the program; the effectiveness of the program; whether the federal government’s target of awarding 5% of all federal contract dollars to companies owned by military spouses was met in each year the program was in effect; data on the supervision of the pilot program; recommendations for improvements to the pilot program and whether to make the program permanent.
Strickland is a strong advocate for service members and their families, defense communities and veterans in Congress. In December, Strickland and Rep. Young led a bipartisan letter urging the Credit Committee to increase the base salary for service members. Strickland co-led the introduction of the bipartisan Military Law on the Prevention of Hunger to help low-income military families living with food insecurity make ends meet. In July, Strickland secured the inclusion of $ 75 million in funding for DCIP in the FY22 Defense Appropriations Bill. In June, MP Marilyn Strickland co-led the entire Washington House bipartisan delegation in sending a letter urging the US Department of Veterans Affairs to take immediate action to address the systemic issues plaguing the veterans health care system. In May, Strickland made a statement to the Veterans Committee, to shed light on the delays and communication breakdowns experienced by veterans living in Washington’s 10th Congressional District as part of the VHA’s Community Care program. In March, Strickland co-directed a letter to President Biden urging increased funding for the Community Defense Infrastructure Program (DCIP), which would allow investments to improve the quality of life, resilience or military value of military families, including at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. She also led her fellow congressmen of Korean descent to introducing a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Colonel Young Oak Kim in recognition of his extraordinary heroism, leadership and humanitarianism.