Unemployment rates for returning military service personnel are alarmingly high without sign of abatement, so Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has sponsored a bill that would help affected veterans find jobs as firefighters, police officers, in national parks and on public lands.
Despite this obviously necessary and clearly noble effort, the bill has come under fire by Republicans such as Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, leading the New York Times Editorial Board to publish “Republicans vs. Veteran’s Jobs”:
If you made a list of things lawmakers of both parties profess to value at all times — like “jobs,” “opportunity,” “veterans,” “law enforcement,” “firefighters,” “safe streets,” “small business” — and plugged them into a Congressional bill-writing app, you would probably end up with something like the Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012.
Not so fast. Coburn is following the lead of other Republicans looking to ideologically deny Democrats victories of any shape or size. Coburn has denounced the bill as “political exercise” and a “waste of time.” Far Right Republicans are somehow coming out in force against this bill despite the fact that it provides an immediate and legitimate solution to a very serious problem. From NYT:
“Where is our honor? Where is our valor? Where is our sacrifice?” thundered Mr. Coburn, suggesting that giving jobs to veterans was an affront to American values. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, went further, saying he would block the bill until Pakistan freed Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped the United States find Osama bin Laden.
If one political party is so hell bent on destroying the other that it is willing to trash and deflect a bipartisan bill aimed at helping veterans find jobs… it may be time to stop voting for them. And when I say “may be” I mean “totally is.”
Now is not the time for misguided political stands, it is time for action. Read the entire NYT editorial calling for just that.