Senate Republicans stopped the veterans jobs bill Wednesday by forcing a budget point of order vote.
Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinDems rip Trump administration for revoking Obama's transgender directive A guide to the committees: Senate McConnell: I’m very sympathetic to 'Dreamers' MORE (R-Ill.) requested a motion to waive the budget point of order, which was raised by Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsFive tough questions for Trump on immigration Issa: Sessions should recuse himself from any Russia probes Pelosi calls for DOJ probe of Priebus on FBI, Russia 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 CollinsLeaked ObamaCare bill would defund Planned Parenthood GOP lawmaker at town hall calls on Trump to release his tax returns GOP senator won't vote to defund Planned Parenthood MORE (Maine), Dean HellerDean HellerCornyn: Border wall 'makes absolutely no sense' in some areas Greens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes GOP groups ramp up pressure on lawmakers over ObamaCare MORE (Nev.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiGOP governors confront Medicaid divide GOP senator won't vote to defund Planned Parenthood A guide to the committees: Senate 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 NelsonA guide to the committees: Senate Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick CMS nominee breezes through confirmation hearing 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 MurrayA guide to the committees: Senate Overnight Healthcare: Trump officials weigh fate of birth control mandate | House, DOJ seek delay in ObamaCare lawsuit Top lawmakers from both parties: 'Vaccines save lives' 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 CoburnCoburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential The road ahead for America’s highways Rethinking taxation 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 BurrTop Senate Dem: ‘Grave concerns’ about independence of Russia probe Trump's pick for intel chief to get hearing next week A guide to the committees: Senate 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.”