Senate advances veterans' jobs bill

“This bill says all good ideas are welcome because our veterans need all the help they can get and it’s fully paid for in a bipartisan way,” Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatty MurraySenate Dems link court fight to Congressional Baseball Game Reid: House-passed Zika deal a 'disgrace' Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate MORE (D-Wash.) said in a floor speech Tuesday. “Our veterans don’t ask for a lot ... but our veterans shouldn’t have to ask, we should know how to provide for them.”

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The $1 billion bill would pay for itself by allowing the IRS to more actively go after some who have failed to pay taxes — new revenue.

Debate on the bill will continue as leadership works toward an agreement on amendments. If they agree, a roll-call vote will likely happen later this week.

“Veterans returning home from across the country are watching us and they certainly don’t have time for politics to block they’re ability to get a job,” Murray said.

Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulRepublicans question Trump's trip to Scotland Hate TV customer service? So does your senator Overnight Cybersecurity: Senate narrowly rejects expanding FBI surveillance powers MORE (R-Ky.) voted against the bill.

Last month, the bill was introduced after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were more than 225,000 unemployed post-9/11 veterans, who would be the benefactors of the legislation.

Murray and Sen. Bill NelsonBill NelsonSenate narrowly rejects new FBI surveillance Senators roll out bipartisan gun proposal Dems blast Republicans after failed gun votes MORE led the effort for the legislation. Both pointed out before the vote that returning service members have valuable job skills, such as leadership ability, discipline, technical skills, teamwork and the ability to perform under pressure, because of their military training.

“When you met some of these folks young and old, they’ve already done the tough, tough job and then they come home and have tough times as well,” Nelson said. “They are extremely skilled. We need to give them as many opportunities to succeed when they get back here in America. It’s up to us to stand by our soldiers.”

The $1 billion bill establishes a Veterans Job Corps for five years. The bill would set up a pilot program that would allow veterans to search for jobs on a new website, and create “one-stop job centers” where they could receive help using the site, if needed. 

The bill also establishes a Transition Assistance Program for veterans and their spouses in a few states with the highest levels of unemployed vets.

Some veterans receive on-the-job training while in service, but that doesn’t always transfer over into civilian life. S. 3457 would make it easier for veterans to get job certifications and licenses in states by counting military training that’s relevant to become certified as a nursing assistant, or to get a commercial driver's license or an EMT license.

Democratic Sens. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalElizabeth Warren joins House Dems' sit-in Democrats stage sit-in on House floor to push for gun vote Dems blast Republicans after failed gun votes MORE (Conn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders shares star power with NY House hopeful Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate Protecting living organ donors' rights MORE (N.Y.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyThe Hill's 12:30 Report Key Sanders ally: Time to get behind Clinton Dem Senate campaign chair endorses Clinton MORE (Ore.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerGun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA This week: Senate showdown over gun control Dems push vulnerable GOP senators on gun control MORE (N.Y.), Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowClinton to headline fundraiser with Senate, House Democrats: report USDA extends comment period for 'certified organic' animal rule Lawmakers consider adding mental health bill to opioid conference MORE (Mich.) and Ron WydenRon WydenRepublican chairman: Our tax reform plan fits with Trump's vision Post Orlando, hawks make a power play Democrats seize spotlight with sit-in on guns MORE (Ore.) also co-sponsored the bill.

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