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Senate rejects Obama’s $447B jobs bill
Two Democrats join all Republicans
Question of the Day
Despite a last-minute appeal by President Obama, the Democrat-controlled Senate late Tuesday rejected his nearly $450 billion jobs-stimulus proposal, as lawmakers looked ahead at other ways to spur job growth.
Mr. Obama’s plan didn’t get a single Republican vote, as expected. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid failed to keep his 53-member Democratic caucus together, and a procedural vote fell far short of the 60 needed to keep the measure alive and proceed toward a final vote.
“Republicans unanimously voted against our nation’s economic health to advance their narrow political interests,” the Nevada Democrat said. “They voted against this job-creating bill despite previously supporting many of the ideas it contains, such as tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses.”
The finally tally was 50-49, with Mr. Reid switching his “yes” vote to “no,” a technical move that will allow him to bring up the measure again.
The measure calls for $447 billion in short-term infrastructure spending and tax cuts, offset by long-term tax increases that would raise $467 billion over 10 years. Those tax increases include eliminating tax breaks for oil and gas companies and limiting the deductions individual taxpayers could claim.
The vote outcome was expected, as many senators — including some Democrats — opposed tax increases included in the plan.
“I again emphasize my belief that rather than increasing taxes on wages or ordinary income, the bill should be paid for by other means, such as raising the capital-gains rate or ending costly subsidies and tax loopholes,” said Sen. Jim Webb.
The Virginia Democrat voted Tuesday to keep debate on the bill alive but said he would have voted against it if it reached a final-passage vote.
Democratic Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, both of whom are up for re-election next year, joined 46 Republicans in voting against the measure. One Republican, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, did not vote.
Hours before the vote, the president said lawmakers faced “a moment of truth” in dealing with the troubled U.S. economy.
“Any senator who votes ‘no’ should have to look you in the eye and tell you what exactly they’re opposed to,” Mr. Obama told an audience at a union electricians’ training center in Pittsburgh.
“I think they’ll have a hard time explaining why they voted ‘no’ on this bill — other than the fact that I proposed it.”
The proposal would cut payroll taxes, give businesses incentives for hiring the unemployed, extend unemployment benefits, and boost spending on construction projects for schools, roads and bridges. The president says it will help reduce the national unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell derisively called the president’s proposal a “second stimulus,” referring to the Democrat-crafted $787 billion stimulus package Mr. Obama signed into law in 2009 over Republican objections that it was bloated with pork-barrel spending.
“By proposing a second stimulus, Democrats are showing the American people that they have no new ideas for dealing with our jobs crisis,” the Kentucky Republican said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
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