Coburn: Veterans jobs bill is political charade

Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnMcCain: No third-party foes coming for Trump Tough choice for vulnerable GOP senators: Embrace or reject Trump The Trail 2016: Donald and the Supremes MORE (R-Okla.) said he thinks the veterans jobs bill currently being debated in the Senate is more about helping politicians than it is about helping veterans.

“What we’re really doing is passing a bill for political reasons that’s not going anywhere in the House so that we can say we’re doing things,” Coburn said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

The Veterans Jobs Corp Act would create new job-training programs to help veterans find work in targeted fields such as national park conservation, historic preservation projects, police work and firefighting, among others. The five-year bill costs $1 billion and creates new revenue to pay for itself over 10 years.

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Coburn complained that the bill didn’t go through the committee process and that the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hasn’t spent time looking into if current veterans jobs programs work before proposing another.

“So we don’t have a hearing, we don’t have a markup, we come to the floor, we’re not going to have amendments,” Coburn said. “Is this about veterans or is this about politicians? I suspect it’s about politicians and not veterans.

“What’s really happening here is we’re playing the political card because how could anyone oppose the Veterans Job Corp?” Coburn said. “The better question is how callous it is to put forward a bill that we don’t know if it will work.”

Coburn questioned the “honor and valor” of those proposing the bill.

“I’m for helping veterans; I’m for paying for it,” Coburn said. “This bill isn’t it. This bill is a charade, [and] to call it anything else is an insult to those who serve our country.”

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatty MurraySenate backs equal pay for female soccer players Feds can learn lessons from states about using data to inform policy Lawmakers blast poultry, meat industries over worker injuries MORE (D-Wash.) and Sen. Bill NelsonBill NelsonTen senators ask FCC to delay box plan Senators to House: FAA reauthorization would enhance airport security Dems discuss dropping Wasserman Schultz MORE (D-Fla.) are leading the effort for the legislation. Negotiations are under way, and some suggestions by ranking member Richard BurrRichard BurrThe Trail 2016: Hell breaks loose Burr, Ross in statistical dead heat in NC Senate race Senate panel advances spy policy bill, after House approves its own version MORE (R-N.C.) are being incorporated into the 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,” Murray 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.”


Murray called Coburn's remarks about her veterans’ jobs bill “baseless and offensive.”

“What the Senator called a ‘charade’ is an effort to help [veterans] find work,” Murray said on the floor. “It’s not enough to give our veterans a pat on the back for their service, we also need to give them a helping hand into the jobs market.”


Coburn voted to move the bill forward Tuesday. The cloture motion passed 95-1. Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Energy: Trump outlines 'America First' energy plan in North Dakota Overnight Regulation: GOP slams new Obama education rules Paul blocks chemical safety bill in Senate MORE (R-Ky.) was the only senator to vote against the motion.

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