Partisan Politics Prevail, Veterans’ Jobs Bill Defeated in Senate

If Congress could have passed any kind of bill before its long fall recess, you would think it would be a bill helping our unemployed Iraq and Afghanistan veterans find jobs. But, once again, partisan politics on Capitol Hill prevented the Senate from passing The Veterans’ Job Corps Act of 2012. In voting this past Wednesday, the Senate sent the bill back to committee by a 58 to 40 vote, just two votes short of passage. All 40 no votes were cast by Republicans. Of those 40, one was North Carolina’s Richard Burr who had contributed to the writing of the bill.

If the bill ever manages to pass through both the Senate and House, it would make grants available to federal, state and local agencies so that they can hire veterans to work as first-responders and in conservation jobs at national parks. The bill has the potential for creating up to 20,000 jobs for our nation’s veterans.

Republicans objected to the passage of the jobs bill on the grounds that it would exceed a cap on spending agreed to by Congress last year. But the bill’s sponsor, Patty Murray (D-WA), said the bill’s cost would have been offset by new revenues.

Senator Murray noted that there are currently more than 720,000 of our nation’s veterans who’re unemployed, including 220,000 who have served since 9/11.

“It’s both shocking and shameful that Republicans today chose to kill a bill to put America’s veterans back to work,” Murray said in a statement Wednesday. “At a time when one in four young veterans are unemployed. Republicans should have been able, for just this once, to put aside the politics of obstruction and to help these men and women provide for their families.”

In casting his No vote, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) said, “We ought to do nothing that makes the problem worse for our kids and grandkids.”

But what of the kids and grandkids we sent off to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq? What about their problem? Obviously it’s of no concern for Senator Coburn and all but five of his Republican colleagues in the Senate.

“It makes sense,” said a New York Times editorial the Sunday prior to the Senate vote, “for the 99 percent of Americans to find new ways to pay their debt to the 1 percent who serve in uniform. To most people, Senator Murray’s bill would seem like one decent way to do that. But not if you’re one of those Republicans in Washington who thinks it’s more important in an election year to deny Democrats a success or accomplishment of any kind…We’ll know (when the vote takes place on Wednesday) whether good sense prevailed, or the wheels have come completely off the Congressional machine.”

Sources:http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/g-o-p-blocks-veteran-jobs-bill/, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/20/veterans-jobs-bill_n_1897377.html, http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/09/19/13966931-senate-republicans-kill-veterans-jobs-bill?lite, http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/veterans-jobs-bill-blocked-in-the-senate/, http://www.navytimes.com/news/2012/09/ap-veterans-jobs-bill-bogs-down-senate-091912/.

(Photo source)

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