UPDATE: The White House reacted disappointingly to the Senate vote.
“No veteran who fought for our nation should have to fight for a job at home, but Republicans in Washington are blocking a common sense plan to create the Veterans Jobs Corps and put tens of thousands of veterans back to work,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in a statement.
– End Update –
Legislation to create a Veterans Jobs Corps failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate on Wednesday.
Needing 60 votes to shut off debate and move to a final, simple majority vote, the bill received only 58 votes. The support of five Republicans wasn’t enough to get the bill through.
The Veterans Jobs Corps Act would have used $1 billion “to help veterans find work as police officers, firefighters, and in other jobs serving their communities.”
Democrats, including the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), said the measure would’ve been fully paid for through the collection of back taxes on Medicare providers and individuals that owe the federal government more than $50,000.
Several Republicans, however, objected to the bill, arguing that its cost violated last year’s Budget Control Act, which capped total federal discretionary spending at $1.047 trillion while Congress works on passing a new budget.
In a statement, Murray expressed outrage at her GOP counterparts for preventing the bill from moving forward.
“It’s both shocking and shameful that Republicans today chose to kill a bill to put America’s veterans back to work. 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.
But this vote is stark reminder that Senator McConnell and Senate Republicans are willing to do absolutely anything to fulfill the pledge he made nearly two years ago to defeat President Obama. It doesn’t matter who gets in their way or which Americans they have to sacrifice in that pursuit, even if it’s our nation’s veterans.
It’s unbelievable that even after more than a decade of war many Republicans still will not acknowledge that the treatment of our veterans is a cost of war. Today they voted down a fully paid for bill that included bipartisan ideas to put veterans in jobs that will allow them to serve their communities. Jobs that would have helped provide veterans with the self-esteem that is so critical to their successful transition home.
Today Senate Republicans told the less than 1% of Americans who have spent the last decade serving and sacrificing for the other 99% of Americans that they are not willing to honor that sacrifice with new investments in their well-being when they return home.”
Murray also noted that with Congress expected to adjourn at the end of the week in order to resume campaigning for the November 6 elections, it is unlikely that the legislation will be advanced anytime soon.