June 26, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced that the Senate has unanimously passed his bipartisan legislation to help military spouses build successful careers while their family members serve the country. The Military Spouse Employment Act allows military spouses to have a remote work career with any federal agency, which would help them to maintain consistent employment while they move with their spouse. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
“Military families make many sacrifices while defending America’s freedom and democracy, and too often, this includes spouses putting aside careers or turning down opportunities to pursue the American dream,” said Senator King. “The bipartisan Military Spouse Employment Act is a commonsense bill to help military spouses avoid tough choices between family and employment by creating remote, stable careers in the federal government. This country is forever indebted to our military families and the sacrifices they have made. I want to thank my colleagues for their unanimous support – a true testament to the importance of the effort – and hope that the House takes up this legislation swiftly to ensure these patriotic Americans have the support and resources they deserve.”
A recent survey found that 43 percent of active duty families surveyed said spousal unemployment is an issue for them, and 42 percent of military spouses reported they are not in the labor force and are looking for employment. A combination of issues keeps military spouses from holding jobs. Thirty-three percent of spouses said the reason they aren’t working was because their family will relocate soon because of new military orders. Underemployment also continues to be an issue for 63 percent of military spouses. This legislation allows military spouses to have a remote work career with any federal agency, which would allow them to build a career while they move with their spouse.
The legislation is cosponsored by Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), and Deb Fischer (R-NE).
Representing one of the states with the highest rates of veterans per capita, Senator King has been a staunch advocate for America’s servicemembers and veterans. He has been among the Senate’s most prominent voices on the need to address veterans suicide, and has repeatedly pressed for action from top Department of Defense officials on this issue. Senator King’s bill to help military families respond to rising inflation, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Act of 2023, was signed into law by President Biden this month. Additionally, he recently spearheaded the passage of legislation to better track and study servicemember suicides by job assignment. Senator King has also worked to properly honor and recognize the sacrifices of Purple Heart medal recipients, protect veterans from fraud, and expand veteran assisted living services.