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Senate Blocks Obama Jobs Bill

To the surprise of nobody, the Senate yesterday failed to muster the 60 votes necessary to proceed to debate on the American Jobs Act, as modified by Harry Reid on the revenue side:

President Obama received a slap from members of his own party Tuesday as the Senate voted 50-49 to block his $447 billion jobs package.

The jobs plan, which the president has spent much of the last month touting on a cross-country tour, fell well short of the 60 votes it needed to proceed.

The only Democrats to vote against the measure were Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jon Tester (Mont.), but a number of other centrists in the party indicated they would vote against the package even though they supported launching a debate on the measure.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) originally voted in favor, but changed his vote to ‘no’ in a procedural move to keep open the option of raising the issue again without filing for cloture.

All of the Republicans present on Tuesday voted against the motion.

The White House and Democratic spin will be that the Republicans blocked the bill, but it’s fairly apparent that there was enough Democratic opposition to the bill itself to put the odds of final passage fairly low. In any case, this isn’t the end of the bill anyway. Democrats on Capitol Hill have already said that they’ll be bringing the bill up piecemeal, and at least a few parts of it, such as the Payroll Tax cut are likely to pass easily.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Andyman says:

    @Doug,

    Counterfactuals are difficult in these cases. If the cloture vote had been a lot closer to 60, you would have seen opponents invoke that a vote for cloture is “scored” as a vote for the bill, and some wavering Dems would have bolted. On the other hand the WH and Reid (assuming the want the bill to pass and not have it as a weapon in the election) would have whipped a lot harder too.

    If the Dems had somehow gotten 60 votes for cloture but only 48 for passage, I’m pretty sure there are enough goodies to go around to find two more votes. So it seems really silly to me that the media is even covering what the cloture vote total was. All we learned was that there was unanimous GOP opposition (good for Obama) and some Dem opposition (bad for Obama).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. Axel Edgren says:

    The senate gives massive voting power subsidies to the worst parts of America, so this says nothing about the merit or even popular of the bill. This is not a repudiation via democracy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  3. The Senate is functioning largely as intended. Some rule changes may be in order, but fundamentally it is doing exactly what it was supposed to do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  4. Axel Edgren says:

    “but fundamentally it is doing exactly what it was supposed to do.”

    Allowing the worse states and the rural areas to impose, among other things, homophobia and “pro-life” fascism on city dwellers.

    Not to mention that is not enough for the gas-dependent hicks – they also get undue power via the electoral college in presidential elections.

    America shames democracy regularly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  5. John Cole says:

    but it’s fairly apparent that there was enough Democratic opposition to the bill

    Two Democrats voted against. Nay Nay

    Forty-Seven Republicans and Lieberman voted against. Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay Nay

    But in the addled ether of the libertarian mind, where both sides do it is the mantra that gets you through the day, this is evidence of significant Democratic opposition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  6. Rob in CT says:

    @Axel Edgren:

    As designed, yeah.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. @John Cole:

    You obviously either missed, or ignored for your own partisan reasons, this part of the quoted article:

    The only Democrats to vote against the measure were Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jon Tester (Mont.), but a number of other centrists in the party indicated they would vote against the package even though they supported launching a debate on the measure.

    According to reports, those probably No votes on final passage would have included no only Tester and Nelson, but also Manchin and Webb. Those additional no votes would be enough to defeat the bill on final passage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  8. Davebo says:

    According to reports, those probably No votes on final passage would have included no only Tester and Nelson, but also Manchin and Webb.

    So those “centrists” who refused to be named would obviously come out in opposition to the bill after voting for cloture?

    Stick to phone banking collections Doug. You’re just not very good at this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Voting for cloture on a party line vote despite opposing the bill happens quite often in the Senate, Davebo

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  10. mantis says:

    Republicans unanimously voted against simply debating the president’s jobs bill. They could still keep it from coming to a vote, and there’s basically no chance of it passing the House, but they aren’t even willing to debate it.

    Republicans are not interested in governance. Their goal is to make the economy worse and see more people lose their jobs so they can maybe win an election by blaming the president.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. @mantis:

    It’s the Senate. This is how things work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  12. Andyman says:

    @Doug,

    It’s easy to say that you would have eventually opposed the bill when it’s clear that your bluff won’t be called. That’s just having your cake and eating it too.

    I’m extremely skeptical that there wouldn’t be 50 votes if that’s what was needed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. mantis says:

    It’s the Senate. This is how things work.

    Oh really? So the Republicans were forced to vote against cloture to allow a vote on the motion to proceed? Interesting…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. David M says:

    @Andyman: Of course it would pass if the threshold was 50 votes. Either there would be a couple amendments to get keep the last couple Dems on board or the GOP would realize it was going to pass and negotiate. As it is, the GOP are more than happy to block anything that might help the economic recovery while still avoiding any responsibility for their actions.

    I will say the GOP are making parliamentary systems look quite good in comparison with our currently dysfunctional government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. Axel Edgren says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “The senate not working is how it is supposed to work – the biggest c***s that regularly put party before country has the most success!”

    Doug, you are either deeply cynical or an addled fool, to defend the senate’s current MO and “functionality”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0