The Rachel Maddow Show | September 19, 2012
>>> this is senator john boozeman. there's a senator named john boozman , yes, there is. it's okay if you've never heard of him. most people isn't. he's a senator from arkansas. interesting trivia about john boozman , his older brother, faye, almost won that senate seat in arkansas before john boozman did, until faye boozman pulled a todd akin in 1988 . he said that women secrete magical spermacide when they were raped. then his little brother won the seat anyway in 2010 . senator john boozman is an on optometri optometrist, played football, and now he's a senator. and if most of america is not aware there's a u.s. senator optometrist guy named john boozman , then most of america is definitely not aware that this guy is also a senator. you recognize him? no? that's okay. he's not exactly a household name . his name is mike johanns . he's a senator too. he went to st. mary's in minnesota and got a law degree at creighton. here's another one. do you know me? likely, you don't know. i'm richard burr . and before senator richard burr became a u.s. senator from north carolina , he played football for the wake forest demon deacons , and he was in a fraternity, and then he distributed law equipment. this guy, pat toomey , also a senator, yeah, who knew, right? every seen him before? to get to the senate , pat toomey worked at chemical bank and then he worked at an investment bank called morgan grenfell . he's a harvard guy, pat toomey . on your average day of news, your average day of life in america , the names and the basic boys of run-of-the-mill senators like this, they're the furthest things from most people's minds. who they are, how they do their jobs. on most days, those things do not make a ripple. and then there are days like today, when these four men really deserve to be very, very famous. more famous than they've ever been before in their whole lives. right now, american troops are fighting the alolongest war in america history. until last year, they were fighting that war alongside a second war in iraq . two of the longest wars in american history fought at the same time, by a population of troops that makes up less than 1% of the american population. think about that. we have put an incredible burden on a proportionately tiny sliver of our population. and they did not get to those wars on their own. they didn't start those wars. the government sent them to do that work, in our name, right? a grateful nation, and all that. well, now americans coming home from those wars have an unemployment rate that is 35% higher than the national rate of unemployment. everybody's having a hard time in this job market , right? but veterans coming home from these wars have been at war. they have been doing things at their job for their deployment that employers may not understand on a resume. kandahar and baghdad don't exactly easily compare to the other addresses that employers are seeing on people's application for work. so the unemployment rate for vets is significantly higher, 35% higher than it is for the rest of the country. but that disadvantage in the market place for jobs, that disadvantage that vets are at, that disadvantage is something that we did as a country. the government, in our name, sent these folks abroad. and now they are coming home . and it is these guys you have never heard of before, like senator boozman and senator johanns and senator burr and senator toomey that today decided that the country doesn't actually need to make good-bye veterans on this particular problem that we as a country created for our veterans . today republicans in the senate filibustered the bipartisan veterans jobs corps bill, that was totally paid for and totally bipartisan. in the vote, five republicans did cross party lines and sided with all the democrats who voted for it, but the republicans still blocked wit a filibuster. so we have no veterans jobs corps bill, thanks mostly to these guy, the lawyer, the on t tom tryst, and this guy. democrats said, we want this to be bipartisan. what do you republicans want to be in the veterans jobs corps bill, so that you can vote for it? so we can do this together? and the republicans wrote most of the wrote most of the bill. these four super stars all added all the star they wanted in the bill. what they suggested was included in the legislation. they got what they wanted. and then they voted no. if i could write their names in the sky, i would write their names in the sky. there is no plan "b" for a veterans jobs corps bill. they killed it. they cannot try again for it next year. joining us now is mr. murphy he has the distinction of having been the first iraq war veteran to have served in congress.
>> it's great to be here even though it's under these circumstances.
>> we have been monitoring this legislation for a while, watching it in the senate . we did not in this show put it on tv before tonight because everybody thought it was a foregone conclusion that it was pass because it was such a bipartisan thing. it seemed like a done deal in the senate and then it died. nobody expects much from this congress, but haven't we been able to expect some minimum willingness to come together on the issue of veterans ?
>> you know, rachel, today is an absence absolute disgrace. the fact is that every 80 minutes a veteran in america commits suicide. these men and women fight for us overseas. the last thing they need to do is to come home and fight to get jobs. it was allowing them to become cops and firefighters back in sthar own community. they should be ashamed. it's a disgrace.
>> we contacted those four senators' offices today and the ones who would talk to us basically said they weren't voting against veterans on this, they were just voting against a rule that needed to be waived in order for the senate to vote on the actual bill. in your experience, does congress usually let rules fights derail situations that they really otherwise want to pass?
>> not at all. these guys are looking for excuse after excuse after excuse. the fact is this. is they're trying to obstruct any type of movement or accomplishment, even if it's a bipartisan accomplishment just because there's an election 6 1/2 weeks away. they're passed off because barack obama talked about it. these guys coauthored the bill and then shut it down. it's blatant partisan politics . if people aren't pissed off about this, when these veterans , over 225,000 of them are unemployed, we need to do what we can as a country to give them an opportunity. it's not just a job, it's their digni dignity, they come back home and get a job and these guys stood in the way over it. and it's a disgrace.
>> one of the groups fought over it are veterans . veterans votes are seen as crucial in terms of these state margins. are veterans following issues like this closely? is this sort of thing on veterans ' political radar when they're making their decisions how to vote?
>> yes and know. they're going back and worried about getting jobs and they're trying to keep their jobs and their family and other life challenges that they have to deal with. so they're not following it as closely as you and i are following it. but the simple fact is that for so long the republicans are we're strong we fight these wars. we lost our focus on going after osama bin laden . to go over to an unnecessary war in iraq . we spent $3 trillion in iraq, lost over 4,000 men and women, tens of thousands have ptsd or traumatic brain injury, and then these knuckle heads who send us into war don't want to take care of these veterans when they come home? i mean, that's the cost of war. we need to make sure we give them the opportunity. we need to expand things like the g.i. bill and to do it just so president obama or democrats and republicans can't say we have an accomplishment every once in a while is beyond me. i can't get over the fact that these men in the senate turned their back on veterans who are in desperate need right now. it's just unamerican.
>> former u.s. congressman army combat veteran patrick murphy .
>> you know it is a powerful interview when i have knuckle heads is written on my script.
>>> despite john mccain 's objections, the sky did not fall. a reason to be cheerful coming