Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Tale of Four Senators

It went too far.  In September, before the recess, there was a bill in the senate that would help reduce unemployment for our veterans.  The unemployment for veterans returning from our wars since 9/11 is 10.5% which is now 2.7% higher than the national average. What happened next is unacceptable.

The bill was a simple one.  Over five years it would cost one billion dollars to put vets to work on public works, or give them preference to become police officers and fire fighters, creating some 20,000 plus jobs. What is more the cost of the bill was fully off set or, in other words, paid for.  It was put down to defeat with 58 yes votes, needing only two more votes to pass the very odd senate 60 majority rule.  Five Republicans crossed party lines to vote yes.

There are four Republican Senators who you would think would also have voted "yes."  The members of Congress on an almost daily bases tout the importance of our veterans and their service to our country and yet the obstructionist congress couldn't even pass one bill that would help give our returning warriors jobs.  John Boozman from Arkansas, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania each wrote part of the bill which was crafted to be bipartisan.  In fact, it was rewritten several times to include Republican amendments so that it would be bipartisan.

We sent these people to war. When they return, they are 35 per cent more likely to be unemployed. The job skills they received in Iran and Afghanistan are not exactly what one would expect on a resume. We owe them and this paid for bill would help with the debt and sacrifice.  And the bill failed. It failed because according to Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times a group of Republican Senators were "eager to shoot down President Obama’s legislative agenda just weeks before the election."

You see Mr. Boozman, Mr. Johanns, Mr. Burr and Mr. Toomey all voted "no" allowing a filibuster to go into effect and kill the bill.  No they were not the only ones to vote "no." The bill had been held up by Rand Paul who tried to attach a number of politically motivated amendments. Even John McCain whose honor and support of Veterans voted in the negative. The fact that these the four Senators actually helped write and support the bill but then used it for political gain is particularly callous. 

There is no plan B and the bill is not likely to be presented again.

Let me state this again:

These four senators who helped write and present the bill so it would be bipartisan voted "NO."

It is wrong, just plain wrong.