Senator Lisa Murkowski today voted to move forward with the Veterans Job Corps Act -- legislation that would create opportunities, transitional services and job training for 20,000 members of the post-9/11 veteran community presently facing a 10.9 percent unemployment rate nationwide. In addition to helping employ our recent veterans, the bill was also intended to address a huge backlog of infrastructure projects and federal land work. The bill failed to pass a procedural 60-vote threshold earlier today, failing 58-40.
"These men and women have worn our uniform, shouldered the burden, and faced unthinkable dangers in forward areas during a very dangerous time," said Murkowski. "Alaska has the highest rate of veterans per capita in the nation, far too many of whom came home to a new fight -- for a job. We cannot turn our back on our selfless soldiers; we should answer the call of duty for them and their futures."
If enacted, the Veterans Jobs Corps Acts would have created jobs for up to 20,000 vets for federal land projects -- many of which would be located in Alaska -- and public safety work. It would also develop job centers for vets to find work, expand veterans' preference for federal civil service, as well as training for veterans to help them in the transition from battlefield to workplace. States would be required to consider the skills and training vets acquired in the military for professional and vocational certification and licensing programs.
The cost of the bill would have been paid through a crackdown on delinquent taxes on Medicare providers and Americans seeking passports.