Senate Fails To Proceed with Jobs Bill

The Senate held a procedural vote on Tuesday that would have limited debate and allowed for a final vote on the President’s American Jobs act (S 1660).  The bill did not receive the 60 votes necessary to cut off debate, with two Democrats (Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jon Tester of Montana – both seeking reelection in heavily GOP states) joining every Republican in voting against the “cloture motion.”  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) changed his vote to “no” when it was determined the motion would fail so that he would have the right to bring the bill up at a later date, making the final vote 50-49.

S 1660 was virtually identical to the American Jobs Act proposal sent to Congress by the White House, with the exception of revenue offsets, which the Senate changed to a 5.6 percent surtax on taxpayers with earnings over $1 million.  The measure included additional spending for federal highway, transit, aviation, railroad, and job training programs, in addition to funds for teacher, firefighter, and police hiring initiatives.  It also includes tax incentives for businesses to hire employees, particularly those who are currently unemployed.

Senate leaders are not giving up, however, as they indicated their willingness to bring up the American Jobs Act in a series of smaller bills focused on individual provisions of the measure.  House Republican leadership also may choose some aspects of the measure that they can accept – most likely the tax relief – as opposed to considering the President’s jobs bill in its current form.


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