NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Republicans shamelessly block Patty Murray’s veterans jobs bill in U.S. Senate

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.

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3 Comments

  1. It goes to show some Repub­li­cans in the Sen­ate do not care about vet­er­ans. They put their lives on the line for all of us. This is the thanks they get?

    Peo­ple, wake up and vote against the sen­a­tors who did not sup­port this vet­er­ans bill.

    # by Joseph Brinamen :: September 20th, 2012 at 12:38 PM
  2. I am a Viet­nam-era vet­er­an that served in Korea from 70–71 in Osan, Korea as a medic. In 1968 — 1969, I was in grad­u­ate school and I was teach­ing juve­nile delin­quents in Rich­mond, VA, but since the U.S. was draft­ing 35,000 men a month, I went ahead and enlist­ed in the Air Force.

    I am very, very, very upset with the fail­ure of the Sen­ate not pass­ing the vet­er­ans jobs bill yes­ter­day!

    When I came home from Korea in 1971, peo­ple did not like the vet­er­ans because they were upset about Viet­nam… I for­got about their ter­ri­ble com­ments and moved on with my life…

    Now they are back­stab­bing the vets! This is ter­ri­ble!

    Please send me a copy of the bill and the sen­a­tors that vot­ed — yes and no.

    Thank you for your efforts. I appre­ci­ate your desire to help the vet­er­ans. We need to pass anoth­er bill and enlarge the old GI Bill also.

    Plus we need to have enact­ed the bill that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma signed into law in May 5, 2010 — S. 1963 Care­giv­er and Vet­er­an Omnibus Health Ser­vices Act of 2010. Specif­i­cal­ly Sec­tion: 510 — 3 year Pilot Pro­gram for Den­tal Care for Non-dis­able Vet­er­ans — I’m 66 years old and a lot of my vet­er­an friends need den­tal care — What is and has hap­pened with get­ting this bill — Sec­tion 510 enact­ed?

    # by Charlie Kurkjian :: September 20th, 2012 at 12:55 PM
  3. I’m a reg­is­tered Repub­li­can who’s incred­i­bly embar­rassed. After Georgie-boy had his way with a Clin­ton-sur­plus, we are now deal­ing with idiots who for­get where our deficit came from! I believe in the core fun­da­men­tals of the old-school Repub­li­can Par­ty, but over the past few decades I’ve watched the Repub­li­can mes­sage get lost com­plete­ly. It’s now a game of who wins and who los­es. That’s com­plete and utter BS and doesn’t serve the Amer­i­can peo­ple. Leave it to politi­cians to per­vert the fun­da­men­tals of democ­ra­cy! This Vet­er­an’s Bill block by the Republicans…not to men­tion Mit­ten’s uncon­nect­ed idio­cy, has forced me to once again vote with the Democ­rats this elec­tion! I’d sug­gest that all Con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans pull their his­to­ry books from their dusty con­fines and read about WHY the Repub­li­can Par­ty was start­ed and what it meant for the Nation. Go back to those val­ues and you might find your way again.

    # by Brian P. :: September 20th, 2012 at 3:44 PM

3 Pings

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    Ping from Keeping veterans off the Senate floor – OregonLive.com :: September 22nd, 2012 at 7:09 PM
  3. […] Repub­li­cans shame­less­ly block Pat­ty Mur­ray’s vet­er­ans jobs bill in US Sen­ateNorth­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute Offi­cial Blog (blog)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 … […]