Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and the author of two veterans jobs bills, today expressed his outrage that Senate Republicans used a procedural vote to kill a bill, S. 3457, the Veterans Jobs Corps Act, that would have provided a $1 billion investment to help veterans find work as police officers, firefighters, and other jobs serving our communities. It fell just short of a filibuster-proof supermajority, by a 58-40 procedural vote, with all 40 no votes coming from Republican Senators.
The legislation, written in a bipartisan fashion, was fully paid for and would have helped alleviate our nation's veteran unemployment crisis. It is unacceptable that our returning warriors from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are 35% more likely to be unemployed and unable to find work through no fault of their own. Veterans 18-24 years of age are twice as likely to be jobless as their civilian counterparts.
"I came to Washington this week disappointed that my House Republican colleagues are calling for yet another Congressional vacation when we have so much work to do to create jobs in America, but I thought -- apparently naively -- that at least we'd be able to pass a good veterans jobs bill before we left for the year," Congressman Garamendi said. "This harmful action by Congressional Republicans is indefensible."
Garamendi added, "This is just outrageous and a disservice to veterans that risked everything to protect our freedoms. I want the veterans in my district and the brave men and women in uniform at Travis and Beale Air Force bases to know that I will continue fighting for legislation to create jobs for them."
Every year, 200,000 members of our Armed Forces reenter the civilian workforce. The Veterans Jobs Corps Act would have eased their transition to civilian life with job training programs and priority hiring for first responder jobs as police officers, firefighters, and rescue workers. There are nearly one million unemployed veterans in America.
Garamendi is the author of two bills to help veterans get jobs and avoid predatory debt practices:
H.R. 6293, the Servicemembers Rights Enforcement Improvement Act of 2012, legislation that would help protect servicemembers from predatory debt practices and employment discrimination by increasing penalties for violations and expanding the authority of the Department of Justice to investigate wrongdoing; and
H.R. 3860, the Help Veterans Return to Work Act, would close a loophole that allows large corporations to refrain from rehiring National Guard and Reserve members who were sent into combat in service of our country.