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The Senate will try Tuesday to approve legislation to create the Veterans Jobs Corps, a priority for the Obama administration that has run into strong Republican opposition.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday that Republicans have objected to calling up for full Senate deliberation S 3457, which would use federal grants to hire veterans to work in first-responder jobs such as firefighters and law enforcement officials, plus jobs in conservation, historic preservation and resource management on federal lands or in maintenance and improvements in veterans' cemeteries.
One reason for Republican opposition is that the bill, introduced July 30 by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is being brought directly to the Senate floor without first passing through a committee.
Reid said he'll call a vote Tuesday to force consideration of the bill. It would take 60 votes to move forward on the bill in a Senate that has 51 Democrats, 47 Republicans and two independents.
Even if the Senate passed the bill, it is unlikely the measure would come up for a vote in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, even though veterans' groups have been pressing lawmakers to make job creation for veterans a higher priority.
Reid said the bill would create "really good jobs" and "really important jobs."
"We have tried this once before, and we were really struggling as a country during the Great Depression," Reid said. "We have the [Works] Progress Administration; we had the Civilian Conservation Corps."
It is no accident that the vote will come on Sept. 11, the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the U.S.
"This date is a reminder that through more than a decade, the bravery and dedication of American armed forces have never wavered, and it is a reminder that our commitment to those fine young men and women should never waiver either," Reid said.