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'CCC bill' for veterans defeated by the GOP

 Veterans receive career counseling, but many are finding it difficult to locate jobs.
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Date published: 10/5/2012

'CCC bill' for veterans defeated by the GOP

Kevin Freking ["Senate GOP blocks jobs bill for military veterans," Sept. 20] reported the demise of a bill to put veterans back to work preserving national parks and other federal facilities. The bill was proposed by Obama and modeled after Franklin Roosevelt's CCC, which was so successful in reducing unemployment in the Great Depression. It was a perfect match for the maintenance backlog of $10 billion faced by the Department of the Interior and the 11 percent unemployment faced by returning war veterans.

Senate Republicans filibustered, saying the bill would violate Congress' spending limits even though Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Senate Veteran Committee, made concessions so that the bill would be paid with budgetary offsets and not add to the deficit. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), co-sponsor of the bill, said that "this is not the time to draw a technical line in the budget": The need is so great for unemployed veterans.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America were surprised because it incorporated good ideas from both sides of the aisle. The Senate left on Sept. 22, after falling two votes shy of the necessary 60 for passage.

This action reaffirms Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) statement that his chief priority is to make Obama a one-term president, and is consistent with Senate Republican obstructionism, where compromise is anathema to its legislative vocabulary. Republicans continually spout the high unemployment rate of 8.1 percent but consistently act to block legislation to put Americans back to work.

As a parent of a son who has returned from service in Afghanistan, I am fully aware of the sacrifices these veterans have made. To block this chance for them to have jobs when returning from two wars is disgraceful and unpatriotic.

This Republican Party has lost its former compassionate conservative identity and has ceded control to right-wing ideologues who continue to focus on job-killing programs irrespective of constituents who urgently need help.

I am confident these veterans and others will not forget this unpatriotic decision as they vote in November.

Bernard Mahoney