As only the Republican Tea Party (GOTP) members of the U.S. Senate could do, they blocked legislation establishing a $1 billion jobs program putting veterans back to work tending to the country’s federal lands and bolstering local police and fire departments claiming the spending authorized in the bill violated limits that Congress agreed to last year. Democrats fell two votes shy of the 60-vote majority needed to waive the objection, forcing the legislation back to committee.
The legislation was reportedly based after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps used during the Great Depression to put people to work planting trees, building parks and constructing dams. Democrats said the latest monthly jobs report, showing a nearly 11 percent unemployment rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, merited action from Congress.
“(With) a need so great as unemployed veterans, this is not the time to draw a technical line on the budget,” said Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
Republicans said the effort to help veterans was noble, but the bill was flawed nevertheless.
Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said the federal government already has six job-training programs for veterans and there is no way to know how well they are working. He argued making progress on the country’s debt was the best way to help veterans in the long-term, meaning somewhere in a mystical future when Republicans have magically regained the White House – so, obviously somewhere outside of four years.
“We ought to do nothing now that makes the problem worse for our kids and grandkids,” Coburn said.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said much would depend upon the number of applicants. She noted that more than 720,000 veterans are unemployed across the nation, including 220,000 veterans who have served since Sept. 11. She said putting veterans back to work was the cost of war.
“Instead of meeting us halfway, we have been met with resistance. Instead of saying yes to the nearly 1 million unemployed veterans, it seems some on the other side have spent the last week and a half seeking any way to say no,” Murray said.
Reportedly, a handful of Republicans joined with Democrats in voting to waive the objection to the bill: Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Maine’s Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.
“After everything our veterans have done for us, the least we can do is make sure they are afforded every opportunity to thrive here at home,” Heller said.
And the senator is right, unfortunately Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to do nothing that might help re-elect the president, so screw the veterans. This program was 100% paid for and the GOTP senators ignored that, and ignored our nation’s veterans (once again). Thanks for defending us, so sorry you’re unemployed, pick yourselves up and stop being part of the 47% Romney was talking about.