Senate Republicans stopped the veterans jobs bill Wednesday by forcing a budget point of order vote.
Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinDems introduce bill to create climate change bond program Top Trump officials push border wall as government shutdown looms Top Dem: Shutdown over border wall would be 'height of irresponsibility' MORE (R-Ill.) requested a motion to waive the budget point of order, which was raised by Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsC-SPAN to air Trump travel ban arguments live Trump faults DNC in Russian email hacks Sessions: Dems will pass anything ‘as long as it doesn’t work’ MORE (R-Ala.). Democrats needed 60 votes, but got only 58.
The Veterans Jobs Corp Act would have created 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.
Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsCollins: I'm not working with Freedom Caucus chairman on healthcare Mexico: Recent deportations 'a violation' of US immigration rules White House denies misleading public in aircraft carrier mix-up MORE (Maine), Dean HellerDean HellerWeek ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Obama-linked group launches ads targeting Republicans on immigration Nevada Dem rep considering Senate run against Heller MORE (Nev.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiTrump’s Army pick faces tough confirmation fight Republican Sen. Collins considering run for Maine governor in 2018 Alaska senators push bill to allow Arctic drilling MORE (Alaska) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) were the only Republicans who voted for the waiver, in a 58-40 vote.
“It’s clear that commonsense bipartisan legislation is being thwarted in this chamber over politics,” said Sen. Bill NelsonBill NelsonBipartisan group demands answers on United incident Is Congress encroaching on Americans' Internet privacy? Trump's Labor pick endorsed by Hispanic lawyers MORE (D-Fla.), who sponsored the bill.
The $1 billion bill was to have paid for itself with new revenue over 10 years. Republican senators say the bill allows for more spending at the Veterans Administration than what was agreed to in the Budget Control Act, which is why they raised a point of order.
“This point of order puts a price on what we are willing to provide our veterans and it says ‘not a penny more,’ ” Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatty MurrayWeek ahead: Senate panel to vote on Trump's FDA pick Overnight Healthcare: GOP healthcare talks stall | Ryan takes backset to Pence in new repeal effort | FDA nominee grilled over industry ties Senators battle over FDA nominee's financial ties MORE (D-Wash.) said before the vote. “It’s a point of order that will not only kill our ability to pass this bill, but that could also affect nearly every effort we make to improve the lives of veterans going forward.”
Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnFreedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC Coburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential MORE (R-Okla.) said these types of pay-go bills are part of the problem of the growing national debt.
“The question in my mind is, will we at some point in the future recognize the hole we’re in,” Coburn said on the floor Wednesday. “When we find ourselves in $16 trillion of debt and we pay for a five-year bill over 10 years, we make the problem worse.”
S. 3457 has been returned to the calendar, leaving H.J.Res. 117, the six-month spending resolution passed by the House last week, as the only business left in the Senate before election recess. That vote on the motion to proceed to the resolution is expected shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday.
If the waiver had gotten enough votes, the Senate would have proceeded to a vote on the motion to end debate on an amendment by Murray. Her substitute included provisions by Sen. Richard BurrRichard BurrSenator: No signs of GOP 'slow-walking' Russia investigation GOP senator hits back at criticism of Russia probe Report: Senate's Russia probe understaffed MORE (R-N.C.).
“At every turn, we have sought compromise. But instead of meeting us halfway, we have been met with resistance,” Murray said. “Instead of saying yes to the nearly one million unemployed veterans, it seems some on the other side have spent the last week and a half seeking out any way to say no.”