Senate Democrats push for passage of veterans jobs bill

The legislation, which would help train veterans and help them transition into police officers, firefighters and EMTs, as well as work in the park system, is mired in a political quagmire by Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHeitkamp becomes first Dem to back Pompeo for secretary of State Senate committee sets Monday vote even as Pompeo appears to lack support Trump checkmates Democrats in sending Pompeo to North Korea MORE (R-Ky.), who wants a vote on his bill to end aid to Pakistan before letting the Senate take a vote.

"Veterans are watching, and they have no stomach for political posturing," Murray said. 

The lawmakers stressed that the bill is a collaboration between Democrats and Republicans and includes the bulk of an alternative bill offered by Veterans Committee ranking member Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSenators express concerns over Haspel's 'destruction of evidence' Overnight Cybersecurity: US, UK blame Russia for global cyberattacks | Top cyber official leaving White House | Zuckerberg to meet EU digital chief Senators, state officials to meet on election cybersecurity bill MORE (R-N.C.). 

"There's no reason Republicans shouldn't join us in passing this bill and quickly," Murray said. 

While some lawmakers have questioned whether the bill can move in the House, Murray said she has a good working relationship with Democrats and Republicans and thinks the bill can be passed. 

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination The Memo: Teens rankle the right with gun activism Dems to party: Go on offense with Trump’s alleged affairs MORE (D-Nev.) said votes could slip into the weekend if an agreement is not reached on the veterans jobs bill.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly, 84-8, Wednesday night to proceed to bill — proof, Murray and Nelson argue, that the jobs bill has a majority of support in the chamber. 

"The votes are a positive sign" Nelson said. 

Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), said he was "surprised by the lack of perspective" around the bill, and called it "disheartening" that veterans are being "held hostage by gamesmanship in the Senate."

"I'm hoping to see a sea change today and that the Senate comes together and gets down to work together," he said. 

"This is our priority."