Recently the Herald-Leader criticized me for voting against a Veterans Job Corps program that was introduced in the U.S. Senate last month. My reasons for voting against the bill had nothing to do with "letting down our veterans," as the editorial implies.
I will always stand up for Kentucky veterans, as I have before in voting for programs that benefit veterans in our home state. Due to the tough fiscal times our country is facing, I believe we should focus our energy toward fixing programs already in place, as opposed to creating new ones with money we do not have.
Sen. Patty Murray's, D-Wash., program raised revenue by increasing the corporate income tax payments for the first two quarters of the fiscal year. This bill essentially says, "pay more now, and later, you will pay less," which in actuality means the payments will equal the same over time.
This is a prime example of the budgetary smoke and mirrors we are used to seeing from the Democrats in the Senate. Currently there are at least seven veterans' programs that deal with education and vocational training. Instead of creating another entity, why don't we work to improve the programs that already exist?
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I introduced my own amendment that would have provided an opportunity to not only fund the proposed Veterans Jobs Corps program but increase funding to support post-9/11 veterans (Senate Amendment 2838). Additional funding for the program would have come from the elimination of foreign aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt.
It is disrespectful to the sacrifice our service members have given to continue sending foreign aid to those countries that we have assisted and defended when people in them attack our embassy, assassinate our ambassador and continue to detain and torture those who have assisted us.
If passed, this amendment would triple the amount of funding granted to the Veterans Job Corps program. Regretfully, Democrats in the Senate blocked my multiple efforts to debate my amendment and all others introduced to improve the job corps bill. It is a shame and a farce that my colleagues in the Senate, which is supposed to be the most deliberative body, are forced to have their amendments and opinions limited before the Senate, at the whim of the majority leader.
I resent the Herald-Leader's declaration that I "let down" Kentucky veterans. I have always supported veteran programs and I will continue doing so; however, I will only support programs that aid veterans without the use of budgetary gimmicks and political tactics implemented by the other side of the aisle.
As an elected official, it is my duty to thoroughly read and examine legislation that will affect my constituents. I voted against the bill because I believed we could do better. I believe we must first fix our current veterans' programs as opposed to implementing new ones that are bound to fail.