Senate Republicans stopped the veterans jobs bill Wednesday by forcing a budget point of order vote.
Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinMiner fight stalls as shutdown looms Reid defends relationship with McConnell in farewell speech Depleted Dems look to Senate for 2020 nominee MORE (R-Ill.) requested a motion to waive the budget point of order, which was raised by Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff Sessions House passes water bill with Flint aid, drought relief Liberal Dems: Trump filling Cabinet with 'stooges' Poll: Most say Trump will change DC 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 CollinsDems, greens gear up for fight against Trump EPA pick Medicare looms over Trump-Ryan alliance Senators crafting bill to limit deportations under Trump MORE (Maine), Dean HellerDean HellerReid bids farewell to the Senate Reid defends relationship with McConnell in farewell speech Governments and businesses: Teaming up for taxpayers MORE (Nev.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiSpeaker’s office: No energy bill this year Passing US-Canada preclearance would improve security and economy Overnight Energy: Dakota pipeline standoff heats up 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 Nelson House passes water bill with Flint aid, drought relief Fight over water bill heats up in Senate Overnight Tech: Big win for Samsung over Apple | Trump to sit down with tech leaders | Trump claims credit for B investment deal 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 MurrayReid defends relationship with McConnell in farewell speech Top Dem signals likely opposition to Sessions nomination Overnight Finance: Trump takes victory lap at Carrier plant | House passes 'too big to fail' revamp | Trump econ team takes shape 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 CoburnWill Trump back women’s museum? Don't roll back ban on earmarks Ryan calls out GOP in anti-poverty fight 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 Intel Dem: Congress 'far from consensus' on encryption Trump must be an advocate for the Small Business Administration Dems pledge to fight Sessions nomination 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.”