The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

September 20, 2012

Our View: Revisit after election

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said it was pure politics that kept the Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012 from overcoming a Wednesday filibuster and get enough support to advance to a final vote.

And, she was most likely correct.

On the other side of the aisle, Tom Coburn, a Republican senator from Oklahoma, called the legislation a “political charade,” casting it as a way for Democrats and the president to get votes in the November election.

“What’s really happening here is we’re playing the political card because how could anyone oppose the Veterans Job Corps?” Coburn said.

“The better question is how callous it is to put forward a bill that we don’t know if it will work,” Coburn said.

He too has a point.

The legislation would have funded a proposal by President Barack Obama to create a veterans job corps, spending $1 billion on programs and grants to put former service members to work as police officers, emergency response personnel and park rangers.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt joined in with Coburn in voting “no.” Coburn said he thinks more time should be spent evaluating the six veteran job programs already in existence to see how effective they are before passing another.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the unemployment rate for veterans this year has hovered just below the national rate of around 8 percent. But finding jobs for younger veterans has been more difficult, with 10.9 percent of the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan era unemployed last month.

While Wednesday’s vote ends the chance of passing the legislation before the November election, we would support a full study of the current job programs available for our veterans and the need for additional programs. We are certainly not against the Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012, but would like to see all sides of the issue given consideration.

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