U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today said he wants the Senate to soon revisit legislation to help veterans secure civilian jobs following their military service.
Cochran, the vice chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, on Wednesday voted to return the Veterans Jobs Corps Act (S.3457) to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to be revised. The bill failed to receive sufficient support to move forward after concerns were raised about mandatory spending provisions and offsets to pay for the legislation.
"I believe more should be done to fulfill the needs of those who have served and sacrificed in defense of our nation. Today, a new generation of veterans transitioning out of military service faces a difficult economy and limited job prospects. We have a responsibility to find more effective ways to make their transition smoother" said Cochran, a U.S. Navy veteran.
"I am disappointed that the Senate was not able to consider amendments that might have allowed us to approve a veterans' jobs measure," he said. "I am hopeful that once the heat of this political season has passed that we will have an opportunity to revisit this debate."
Among the amendments blocked from consideration by the Senate was substitute legislation offered by Senate Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), as well as two Cochran amendments to make the veterans jobs measure subject to annual appropriations rather than automatic mandatory spending. The measure that stalled in the Senate exceeded the Budget Control Act spending limitations set for the Veterans Affairs Committee by $61 million in FY2013, $480 million for FY 2013-17, and $666 million in FY2013-2022.
The legislation was developed to address an unemployment rate among veterans that exceeds the jobless rate for most other American workers. It would establish a federal job corps to employ veterans to work as first responders or in conservation projects on public lands. In addition, the legislation authorizes updated job training and transition programs for veterans.