Mark Udall expressed frustration today that Senate Republicans have blocked legislation aimed at helping veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan find work. The Veterans' Job Corps Act of 2012 would have helped state and local governments, businesses and nonprofits hire veterans as first responders, as well as for jobs restoring and protecting forests, parks, coastal areas, wildlife refuges and cemeteries.
"Today's vote is disappointing to say the least," Udall said. "Election-year politics are pushing some of my colleagues to vote against common-sense legislation they would otherwise support. Our veterans have sacrificed too much to have job opportunities blocked due to Washington politics, and today's vote will cost our vets the critical support they need right now."
Udall, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been a vocal supporter of the Veterans' Job Corps Act. He recently addressed the U.S. Senate, asking his colleagues to pass the bill and support unemployed veterans.
"The unemployment rate for veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars remains higher than for the general population -- and much higher for veterans aged 18 to 24. That simply is not acceptable. We can do better," Udall said during his speech. "The bill we are considering today -- the Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012 -- is a solid step in the right direction. We all recognize the obstacles that new veterans face in translating their military experience into civilian jobs. This common-sense legislation would attempt to smooth this transition by connecting veterans with good-paying jobs that fit their skillsets and provide our communities with better opportunities to hire veterans."
According to the August jobs report, the unemployment rate among post-Sept. 11, 2001, veterans stands at 10.9 percent -- far above the national rate of 8.1 percent.