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Senate GOP Blocks Jobs Bill for Vets
Posting Date: 09/24/2012

Terry Donnelly

My last column was a plea for Republican legislators who were willing to compromise to make laws to step forward. There was some feedback putting blame on Democrats as well. See MCJ Column Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?

That may be true, I don’t think so, but it’s possible because we haven’t seen any legislative activity to allow any empirical observation. The reason I think the Republicans are at fault is that Democrats and the White House continually put out bills that fail to get enough Republican support to even get into a position for debate to ensue.

The 111th Congress; the one seated January 3, 2009, the one that had a Democratic House majority, passed some 400 bills that the Senate would not hear. The Senate, even though it too was dominated by Democrats, could not overcome the 60 vote threshold demanded by the filibuster happy Republicans. All of those bills died a quiet death when the 112th Congress, the one led by newly elected Republican, mostly Tea Party Representatives, took the oath in early 2011.

I have been criticized for looking deep into history for support of my positions–I’ll try to do better by citing a defeated bill from just last week. A column headline from the September 20 Las Vegas Review Journal read, “Senate GOP blocks jobs bill for vets.” (Can you tell I liked the title?)

President Obama introduced legislation to send veterans to work upon their return from active duty. This is not a new idea. It was crafted after FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, a link in restoring the economy during the Great Depression.

Veterans would be hired to preserve and restore national parks and other federal, state, and local areas. They could also be hired as cops and firefighters. All of these jobs are within the areas in which these men and women have been trained during their military service. They would need little more to walk into good paying, career track jobs.

This is a double dip win–more jobs filled with military vets to boot. What on earth could possibly go wrong? The GOP defeated the bill by two votes. The Senate came up two

votes shy of sending it on to the House with a mostly partisan vote. As has become the norm, a three-fifths majority was required to overcome the Republicans’ procedural objection.

I am, however, proud to report that both of our Nevada Senators voted for the bill.

The “procedural objection” was to the $10 billion price tag over five years. The objection was that this is a new program that would supposedly increase the debt. That expense amounts to $200 million a year. We are so desensitized by hearing the B word and the T word used with money amounts that a mere $200 million sounds like pocket change–an amount Scrooge McDuck would use to light his cigar.

It isn’t pocket change; it is a lot of money. The reality is that this bill would pay for itself. It would get people working, off welfare, and into jobs for which taxes would be collected. Pay out $200 million today and get the money back in a year due to not sending welfare checks plus greater collections by the taxman.

The “procedural objection” was hogwash.

What was the real objection? The bill originated in the White House. The Republicans will not support any activity that will give the administration a success story even if it means our returning service people have to go even longer without jobs. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has made that crystal clear.

They should be ashamed!

I stand by my statement that it is mainly the Republicans who do not wish to or do not know how to compromise to forge laws out of bills. Democrats have put forth a ton of legislation similar to this veterans’ jobs bill that would have sailed through any other Congress. Republicans block simply because they can–either with their House majority or their Senate filibuster threats.

Our veterans do not need to be thrown into the mess of this slowly recovering economy. If this bill were to pass, they would not become part of the problem, rather part of the solution. There have been other jobs bills to repair infrastructure–each meeting a similar demise. The painfully slow recovery, and have no doubt that a recovery is underway, is much slower and more damaging due to Republican legislators who refuse to do their jobs.

 

Commentary
  • Posted Date: 09/24/2012
    Right on! Those Republicans blocking our system to work should be very ashamed....those Republicans who are voting for the veterans bill thank you! One thing Republicans fail to remember, short term memory thing maybe, is that veterans are Republicans, Democrats and Independents that can change from being Republican to Democrat and from Independent to Democrat, or Republican to Independent. Same thing for women's issues, union issues, etc. etc. Maybe Republicans you should be very ashamed who are blocking our government to work and will you really get what you may ask for? Maybe You may become extinct if you get what you think you want?? Isn't it time you in congress sacrifice a bit for what our veterans and their families who have sacrificed GREATLY? Shame on you Republicans blocking our system to work for the best interest of Americans...maybe think before you act so radical against?. (PRINT only first name NOT all please otherwise no printing of my name.)
    By: Marty Collins
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  • Posted Date: 09/24/2012
    What? - You mean that the folks who call candidates un-American if they don’t wear a flag lapel pin, the same folks who loudly proclaim their patriotism while figuring out ways to NOT serve but then stick ribbon magnets on their vehicles that say they support the troops are the ones who keep voting DOWN legislation that would actually help the returning troops? No Surprise there if you simply look at the historical votes over the past few years. The shallow chest-thumping Republicans should be ashamed, but nothing seems to be safe from their horrific political calculations, not even veterans!
    By: justsayin2
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  • Posted Date: 09/24/2012
    What this action really shows is that the Presidential election is secondary to the elections of Senators and House members. For better or worse, we need to put Democrats in charge of the House and Senate. Whether we get good bills or not, at least we would get some action rather than a totl disregard of the American people by a certain political party.
    By: Michael Stilley
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  • Posted Date: 09/24/2012
    Put Democrates in charge and we will be banckrupt in no time. Don't people understand there is no more money. The idea is good but we are printing money out of blank paper, that house of paper will come tumbling down and there will be money for nothing. Nothing!
    By: Mike Young
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  • Posted Date: 09/24/2012
    Mike, You are obsessing again. We do need to lower the deficit, but this bill is an investment with an immediate return, not an expenditure.
    By: Terry Donnelly
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  • Posted Date: 09/24/2012
    In today’s political climate, there is posturing on both sides of the isle. To state the Republican’s blocked a jobs bill for Vet’s is a partisan position. This is as false as a claim that the Democrat’s do not want to protect the troops. There are partisan objections for either issue, but the general statements presented are not true in either case. The Tea Party is not a Republican filibuster group, when the Democrats have Harry Reid, a one man walking filibuster, both are partisan viewpoints. Anyone can search the internet for articles to support their position. You reference an RJ article that you liked. I actually found an article headline that may be more to my liking. I found a headline from the uber-liberal Daily Kos that would be attractive to your ideological opposite. The headline was, “Harry Reid is an idiot”. We have to get past the political posturing that is continually used for self promotion of an individual or ideology rather than advancement of benefit to the nation. I am a conservative at my core and thus hold certain standards. The one primary concern that all citizens have to recognize, we cannot continue to borrow 40% of our Federal spending. And in this case the numbers do not lie and only ideology could support an argument. Taxing the “rich” will never balance this budget deficit. Forget just taxes, if the Federal government confiscated the income (not just tax) of the top 10% earners, it would not cut this year’s $1.1T deficit in half. And remember, the annual deficit does not make any provisions for the unfunded liabilities that are increasing exponentially. We are headed to hyperinflation that has been experienced by societies throughout history. We have thankfully not experienced such a society destroying event in US history, but if we do not change these trends, we are going to be added to the list of victims to such monetary policies in the near future. I will restate my question to your viewpoint:”Where have you gone Tip O’Neill?”
    By: David Ballweg
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  • Posted Date: 09/24/2012
    Mike Young - Remember, it was Republican administrations that have run up over 70% of our debt! How about less money for the military industrial complex and more for the Veterans? As real history shows, you can't shrink into greatness!
    By: Justsayin2
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  • Posted Date: 09/24/2012
    The math in this article was wrong. It amounted to $2 billion per year but that being said, it probably would have been offset by the lack of welfare and unemployment as well as the increase in tax revenue.
    By: Jim
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  • Posted Date: 09/24/2012
    Let's face it, both parties are failing the citizens of the USA. Under Obama, the USA has had two credit down grades. The Obama administration has outspent any other administration in the history of the USA. Harry Reid has not produced a budget in over 3 years? WHY? And one must ask why the DOJ refuses to honor the laws of the USA??? Furthermore, it would be a good idea to really clean the financial parasites out of the US government.
    By: Bob Charles
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  • Posted Date: 09/24/2012
    200 million times 5 is 1 billion, not 10. sounds like this bill over 5 years would cost 2 billion/year. just sayin'
    By: Stephen
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  • Posted Date: 09/25/2012
    I lost a zero, sorry! I do that with my checkbook too.
    By: Terry Donnelly
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  • Posted Date: 09/25/2012
    Terry, there are currently 6 Veterans Jobs Programs without any measurements of their success or failure and the Democrats admittedly did not have an estimate of the number of jobs projected to be created by this bill. These are points as reported by the Huffington Post (very liberal) in reference to this bill. I absolutely understand the needs of the Veterans but how can you spend the money without knowing the expectation? Finally, to your “fully paid for” comment, check out the CBO estimates to see the expected revenue offsets. For example, $750M of the $1B revenue comes from “revocation or denial of passport in the case of certain unpaid taxes”. It seems we can fully spend the money, but the revenue offsets to fund the spending never seem to materialize. So, we have 6 programs in place we can’t assess, we have a proposed program with no estimates and the revenue source to fund it is minimally predictable. You choose to bash the Republicans, but both parties are culpable.
    By: Reality
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  • Posted Date: 09/25/2012
    John McCain is the first senator that calls for wars, bombings, invasions and bloodshed. Yet John McCain is also the first senator to vote to DENY benefits for the veterans.
    By: bailei
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  • Posted Date: 09/30/2012
    The reason republicans didn't want the bill is because there are already SIX OTHER veteran's jobs programs. Republicans wanted to know why those programs weren't working to meet the needs of veterans before throwing more money at a problem that might already have a solution....that is one of the reasons this country is in the fix we are in. Government has to have a bill, to help that bill to help that bill to help that bill and so on. It was Senate Democrats who poisoned a veterans jobs bill because they would not allow Republicans to amend it so the legislation no longer violated the budget control act.
    By: sweetbees
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