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Obama Seeks to Create 8,000 Jobs for Veterans at Health Centers

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama urged federally funded community health centers across the U.S. to create about 8,000 jobs for veterans over the next three years.

The administration also announced plans to increase programs to help military medics become physician’s assistants by giving priority grants to colleges and universities that train veterans for such careers.

“Veterans shouldn’t have to fight for a job once they’ve come home from the fight overseas,” Matt Flavin, director of the White House Veterans, Military Families and Wounded Warrior Task Force, said in a conference call with reporters. “Too many of our veterans are having to have the fight,” said Flavin, a veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today’s veterans initiative is part of the administration’s campaign to draw out differences with congressional Republicans and pressure lawmakers to act on components of Obama’s jobs plan, which was blocked in the Senate. The Federal Housing Finance Agency said yesterday it would expand a program aimed at aiding the housing market by allowing qualified homeowners to refinance no matter how much their homes have declined in value. In a stop in Denver tomorrow, Obama plans to highlight a plan that will help students manage their education loans.

Obama is going to take steps that bypass Congress “every week going forward,” White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer told reporters yesterday in Washington.

Republican Objections

Republicans, who hold the majority in the House and have enough votes to block legislation in the Senate, have rejected Obama’s plan to raise some taxes and add to government spending in order to spur hiring and economic growth.

The House passed legislation earlier this month to temporarily provide 100,000 unemployed veterans with job-training benefits in high-demand occupations, from trucking to technology.

“Here is a great example where ‘we can’t wait’ for the Senate to take up” House-approved jobs bills, Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said in an e-mail. “And it’s another reminder that there is common ground to be found between us. We just need Senate Democrats to do something.”

There are more than 8,000 community health centers that offer primary care to low-income groups, and the plan would create jobs for about one veteran in each center.

The centers, units of the Department of Health and Human Services, hire doctors and nurse as well as physicians’ assistants, outreach workers, managers and patient support staff, according to Mary Wakefield, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roger Runningen in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at

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