As a member of the Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus, I am very concerned about the ability of veterans, including those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, to find good jobs during this economic downturn.
As Congress pursues legislation to create job opportunities for our veterans, controversy arose recently regarding a vote related to the Veterans Jobs Corps Act (S. 3457). Some have accused Senate Republicans of voting to kill the bill.
I would like to set the record straight.
While the bill contained some very positive provisions to help veterans, it busted the bipartisan budget limits that President Obama and Congress supported through the Budget Control Act of 2011. Specifically, the legislation spent $700 million more than allowed by the bipartisan Budget Control Act.
In this time of skyrocketing deficits, I voted to uphold our budget limits and keep our promises to the American people on spending. More specifically, I voted to send S. 3457 to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee so we can find $700 million of savings elsewhere in the budget.
This procedural vote did not end Senate consideration of the bill, nor was there a filibuster against it. Rather, this vote was simply about living within our means, and I remain hopeful that we can resolve this issue and pass the Veterans Jobs Corps Act soon.
As the son of a former U.S. Marine and representing a state with one of the largest veteran populations in the country, I recognize that our commitment to veterans is an ongoing obligation and one of the most important responsibilities of the federal government.
That's why I have voted to support bipartisan veterans jobs bills such as the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which President Obama signed into law in November 2011. I will work tirelessly to help Pennsylvania's veterans get the services and benefits they rightfully deserve and remain committed to advancing responsible policies that address their needs.