As if we needed further proof that Republicans aren’t interested in helping create jobs and strengthening economic security for Americans, the Notorious G.O.P (which stands for Graveyard of Progress these days) has blocked Senator Patty Murray’s veterans jobs bill from coming up for a vote in the U.S. Senate, effectively killing it for the year:
Eager to shoot down President Obama’s legislative agenda just weeks before the election, Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a measure that would have provided $1 billion over five years to help veterans find work in their communities.
The measure, which would have potentially created jobs for up to 20,000 veterans, was blocked on a procedural point by Republicans, who argued that the bill was unpaid for. Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat and the bill’s main sponsor, said the bill would have covered the costs in part with fees on Medicare providers and suppliers who are delinquent on their tax bills.
Republicans in Congress continue to act as if the Bush error never happened. They would like us all to forget that while they were in charge, they repeatedly sent George W. Bush legislation that increased our nation’s debt. There were the Bush tax cuts, which primarily benefited the wealthy. There were the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. And there was the Medicare Part D overhaul. Republicans had no problem voting for those things during the early 2000s. But now that a Democrat is in the White House, and they’re in the minority in the Senate, they have become uncompromising obstructionists. And no wonder: their number one priority is the defeat of our current president, not the betterment of the nation. As Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell freely admitted a couple of years ago, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
Accordingly, Republicans are unwilling to cooperate with Democrats in passing a jobs measure for our veterans, who have served our country with distinction and deserve to have jobs to come home to. Their shameless obstructionism is a slap in the face to all of the military families who have sacrificed so much.
“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,” Senator Patty Murray said in a statement expressing her disappointment regarding the outcome.
“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.”
We’d quibble with one aspect of Murray’s statement: In light of how Republicans have behaved over the last few years, it is not shocking that they would filibuster a jobs bill for veterans. When Republicans say they are for creating jobs, what they really mean is that they are theoretically for increasing employment. In reality, they couldn’t care less about America’s middle and low income families. Their objective is to sound good so they can win elections and seize power. They are not interested in governing justly or responsibly.
A few Republicans did break with their party and vote to allow the bill to move forward. That almost got Democrats to the sixty-vote threshold… the final tally on the procedural motion ended up being 58–40.
The roll call for the Pacific Northwest was as follows:
VOTING AYE: Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon, Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
VOTING NAY: Mike Crapo and Jim Risch of Idaho
The Republicans who broke with their party were Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Dean Heller of Nevada, and Scott Brown of Massachusetts. No Democrat sided with the Republicans to block the bill.