Well, just as objective observers were beginning to conclude that the GOP’s odds of retaking the Senate were slipping notably, the incumbent Republican Senators did themselves and their party no favors today by killing a veterans’ jobs bill. Brother Benen has the basic rundown:
The bill needed 60 votes to advance. The final tally was 58 to 40, and all 40 opponents of the proposal were Republicans.
As proposals go, this should have been a no-brainer. The Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), sought to lower unemployment among military veterans, giving grants to federal, state, and local agencies, which in turn would hire veterans — giving priority to those who served on or after 9/11 — to work as first-responders and in conservation jobs at national parks.
The bill was fully paid for, and entirely bipartisan — Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) had his own set of ideas for the bill, and Murray incorporated all of them into her legislation.
And yet, all but five Senate Republicans voted to kill it anyway, 48 days before a national election. Even Burr sided with his party to defeat the bill, and it was filled with his provisions.
According to the New York Times‘ Lawrence Downs, the only clear rationale for the Republican action was “denying the Obama administration any kind of victory this year, regardless of the cost to jobless vets.”
Ironically, these shrewd legislators are mainly doing their best to help Obama stick around to make them crazy for another four years–quite likely in the minority.