Political Animal


September 19, 2012 4:31 PM Another Self-Inflicted Wound

By Ed Kilgore

Well, just as objective observers were beginning to conclude that the GOP’s odds of retaking the Senate were slipping notably, the incumbent Republican Senators did themselves and their party no favors today by killing a veterans’ jobs bill. Brother Benen has the basic rundown:

The bill needed 60 votes to advance. The final tally was 58 to 40, and all 40 opponents of the proposal were Republicans.
As proposals go, this should have been a no-brainer. The Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), sought to lower unemployment among military veterans, giving grants to federal, state, and local agencies, which in turn would hire veterans — giving priority to those who served on or after 9/11 — to work as first-responders and in conservation jobs at national parks.
The bill was fully paid for, and entirely bipartisan — Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) had his own set of ideas for the bill, and Murray incorporated all of them into her legislation.
And yet, all but five Senate Republicans voted to kill it anyway, 48 days before a national election. Even Burr sided with his party to defeat the bill, and it was filled with his provisions.

According to the New York Times’ Lawrence Downs, the only clear rationale for the Republican action was “denying the Obama administration any kind of victory this year, regardless of the cost to jobless vets.”

Ironically, these shrewd legislators are mainly doing their best to help Obama stick around to make them crazy for another four years—quite likely in the minority.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • castanea on September 19, 2012 4:42 PM:

    At what point will a critical mass of Americans finally see the GOP not as a disloyal opposition party filled with pimps and morons, but as the embodiment of evil?

  • T2 on September 19, 2012 4:45 PM:

    I PROMISE you that the newspaper headlines tomorrow will read as follows:

    Senate Kills Vet Jobs Bill

  • c u n d gulag on September 19, 2012 4:47 PM:

    Jayzoos H. Christ with a lobotomy!

    What are they thinking?

    Oh, wait.
    Never mind...

    Boy, they love throwing these people out there as cannon fodder.
    Throwing them a small bone when they get back - FUHGETABOUTIT!!!

  • Bo on September 19, 2012 4:54 PM:

    Hopefully, the democratic members of Congress will find a way to attach this bill to each and every piece of legislation to be considered before the end of this session.
    The republicans should be given every chance to either redeem themselves or to dig their hole even deeper (if that is possible).

  • Bo on September 19, 2012 4:58 PM:

    In addition, the press corps should ask rMoney and rAyn whether they support a paid-for, bipartisan bill to aid post-9/11 veterans in re-entering the job market . . . at each and every stump speech, press conference, Sunday talk show and interview. And ask the question of each and every one of their surrogates.

    p.s. -- FoxSnooze and right-wing radio rant-jockeys need not apply

  • Ron Byers on September 19, 2012 5:38 PM:

    At some point you would think they would give up "the deny Obama everything" plan in exchange for a "let's do good just before the election and claim credit" strategy.

    Does anybody in the Republican party have two functioning braincells.

  • TCinlA on September 19, 2012 6:24 PM:

    Quite likely in the minority and lacking the filibuster, since the rules will be changed the first day of the new Congress.

  • Rick B on September 19, 2012 8:01 PM:

    @Ron Byers 5:38 PM:

    Two functioning braincells? Are you searching for the proverbial conservative genius?

    No, anyone who does not have the required visible direct line to FOX, Rush Limbaugh, and Huckabee will be too limited to achieve conservative genius status.

  • Jazz4111 on September 19, 2012 8:05 PM:

    Castanea - I'm there!

  • Jazz4111 on September 19, 2012 8:06 PM:

    Castanea - I'm there!

  • Anonymous on September 20, 2012 12:31 AM:

    I posted Steve's maddowblog post to my FB page and suggest the rest of you all do, too. And/or email it, etc. Just to make sure folks know that the Republicans, even after getting their say in the bill, still said no to veterans.

  • emjayay on September 20, 2012 12:35 AM:

    Because of a previous change in hiring regulations about two years ago, the National Park Service is now hiring exclusively veterans. A veteran with for example a college degree and no particular experience or training or for that matter interest in NPS is guarenteed to get any NPS position over anyone with any amount of experience or training for that particular job.

    In terms of national parks at least, it's hard to see the necessity for this bill.

  • emjayay on September 20, 2012 1:18 AM:

    A comment on Politico (that brings tears to my eyes every time I read it) It's just like the bleached blond gay student hair cutting incident and just like the 47% crap:

    I'm still disturbed by the story of Mitt keeping a door closed for his failing sighted teacher and allowing the teacher to smash their face. My father has retinitis pigmentosa and at around 40 was a math teacher and their was a cruel student who would call him Mr. Magoo and did the exact same thing as Mitt did to my father. My father is now 80 but recounts that story and he has never allowed himself to cry over any of it, but it hurt his pride, you bet it did. Romeny now calls my dad part of that 47% who think themselves victims. Just because people are victims of people like Romney does not mean they will ever cry. Ever. But it does mean Romney will never get their vote. A vote from a once member of the republican party, my father. Not a cold day in hell will Mitt get my fathers vote. Done is done.

  • Basilisc on September 20, 2012 5:54 AM:

    You'll notice from the rollcall (linked by Benen) that Scott Brown and Heller, who are in close races, voted for the bill. The other Repubs running for reelection (Wicker, Corker, Hatch and Barrasso) all voted against - but all of them are shoo-ins.

    So no electoral consequences for this. Unless Democrats do the smart thing and tie this vote - and all the rest of the awful GOP performance in Congress, esp the jobs bill and the Ryan plan - to the Republican party as a whole. But, for reasons that baffle me, Democrats have always been reluctant to do this.

  • Ray Waldren on September 20, 2012 12:21 PM:

    Republican Senators probably saw the Ken Burns film on Death and the Civil War and decided burial in a national veteran's cementory was enough thanks.