Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding a Republican filibuster of the Veterans Jobs Corps Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
It’s Thursday, which means Republicans have once against forced the Senate to waste the better part of a week jumping through procedural hoops.
This week the Senate waited out yet another filibuster – the 380th filibuster in my six years as Majority Leader.
But this time Republicans aren’t just obstructing a measure that would create jobs.
They’re obstructing a measure that would create jobs for the men and women who have risked their lives over the last 11 years to protect our freedoms.
Each year 200,000 service members reenter the civilian workforce.
The Veterans Jobs Corps Act would invest in those returning veterans – easing the transition back to civilian life with job training programs and priority hiring for first responder positions.
If young veterans want to continue their service to country and community by becoming police officers, fire fighters or rescue workers, we should help them achieve that goal.
And this legislation would also create jobs for veterans restoring forests, parks, coasts and public lands.
The least we can do for those who have fought for this country abroad is to ensure they never have to fight for a job when they come home.
This is the kind of proposal that should sail through the Senate with bipartisan support.
Instead, it has met one Republican stall tactic after another.
Not only has this bill faced a string of procedural hurdles, Republicans have larded it up with unrelated, ideological amendments.
And while some of those amendments are certainly important, they don’t belong on any jobs measure, let alone a jobs measure that would assist returning veterans.
Unfortunately, I’m not surprised to see the GOP blocking a jobs bill.
After all, that’s been their tactic all year. In fact, it’s been their tactic for nearly four years.
The Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell, said so himself.
During the darkest days of the Great Recession, he said his number one goal was to defeat President Obama – not to create jobs or boost the economy.
And that’s still true today.
But I am dismayed to see them blocking a jobs bill aimed at protecting those who protect this nation.
This is a new low for Republicans.
At a time when 175,000 post-9/11 veterans are out of work, we can’t afford to waste time with election-year politics.
Less than three weeks before his death, John F. Kennedy wrote that, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
It is time for the Senate to show its gratitude to a new generation of veterans with deeds.
And so I hope my Republican colleagues will find it in themselves to put America’s veterans first and their political aspirations second.