Democrats Admit They Don’t Have The Votes To Pass Obama’s Jobs Bill

Well, they’re going to be hard-placed to blame this one on Republican obstructionism:

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, at the moment, Democrats in Congress don’t have the votes to pass President Obama’s jobs bill, but Durbin added that that situation would change.

“Not at the moment, I don’t think we do, but, uh, we can work on it,” Durbin said, according to Chicago radio station WLS.


Durbin added that the president’s bill would need bipartisan support because there are senators both on the left and the right opposed to aspects of it.

“The oil-producing-state senators don’t like eliminating or reducing the subsidy for oil companies,” Durbin said. ”There are some senators who are up for election who say ’I’m never gonna vote for a tax increase while I’m up for election, even on the wealthiest people.’ So, we’re not gonna have 100 percent of Democratic senators. That’s why it needs to be bipartisan and I hope we can find some Republicans who will join us to make it happen.”

This shouldn’t be a surprise, really, Within days after Obama released the bill Harry Reid was saying that the Senate wasn’t in any rush to take up the bill, and there were already signs that several Democratic Senators up for re-election in 2012 were balking at different provisions of the bill. In the meantime, Obama has been touring the country to supposedly promote this bill, while the phone lines on Capitol Hill remain largely quiet. Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, this bill really had little to do with jobs to begin with, and everything to do with the 2012 elections. In any event, though, if the President really does intend to run in 2012 against a “do nothing Congress” he’s going to have to blame his own party this time around.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Congress, Politicians, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:

    Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, this bill really had little to do with jobs to begin with, and everything to do with the 2012 elections.

    Well, it’s ironic. It is only if you assume that any job bill would be blocked, then the idea that submitting one becomes “politics.”

    Obama should have been non-political, and suggested nothing, right?

  2. john personna says:

    BTW, I sent this link to James. I’m not sure if he plans to cover it, but I think it is very important.

    It’s Man vs. Machine and Man Is Losing

    While businesses have not hired in this soft recovery, they have bought capital equipment and software. Our theme, of robo-jobs, has been hot this week. It certainly ties to any game plan for “creating jobs.”

  3. Hey Norm says:

    He’s going to have to blame his own party because Republicans are un-interested in helping employment or the economy?
    You are going to have to flesh that out a bit more for me…

  4. john personna says:

    Democrats are in a tough spot because the nation is more in “debt reduction” than “job creation” mode, though the public also reserves the right to ask why jobs were not created.

    Basically, the Republican slogan “cut spending, create jobs” was convincing, even though the odds of “austerity recovery” are weak.

    Related: Up a Creek with a Paddle

    What good’s a paddle you won’t use?

  5. john personna says:

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that long-term unemployment is an American “national crisis” and suggested that Congress should take further action to combat it. He also said lawmakers should provide more help to the battered housing industry.

    Feel free to downgrade Ben as “unhelpful,” anonymous cowards.

  6. WR says:

    @Hey Norm: It’s easy. Republicans will vote in a block to kill anything that might help the American people, because it might also help Obama’s reelection prospects, so Obama needs every single D vote. If he misses a single one, then it’s the D’s fault that the bill failed.

  7. john personna says:

    What Barack Obama Could Learn From Maker Faire

    In an interconnected, web-wired world, ‘gigs’ and inventions may replace jobs. If that’s true, and watching what young people are doing it seems more than likely, then the politicians are measuring the wrong thing. They are trying to create old-world jobs and nostalgic snap-shots of industries on the decline. Meanwhile, MakerBot a 3d printer that was designed in NYC and has just gotten it’s first round of venture funding, sells as a kit for just over one thousand dollars.

    I bet, when I first started talking about “makers” in these pages, a year or two ago, you wondered what I was talking about. What did people building potato guns in their basement have to do with national politics?

    Well, I’ve been trying to integrate the themes, the unemployment on one hand, and the creative intensity on the other.

    I think I’ve worked it out, and it isn’t that happy a solution. I think that on one hand we will have “non-adapters” who live off their savings first, and public support second. On the other hand we’ll have “scramblers” who innovate and find gigs. Technology will advance, cognitive surplus will grow, robots and pseudo-intelligent computers will take on more tasks.

    But there will not be “full employment” in the old sense, ever again.

  8. anjin-san says:

    @ JP

    I think your analysis is pretty accurate. 3D printers are an interesting technology, and it could well become disruptive in China’s manufacturing sector and cost them jobs. It’s not hard to imagine mini-factories in industrial parks in America using it it the not to distant future. It will be good for our economy, but it won’t turn the clock back to 1963. That ship sailed long ago.

    In my career planning, I have put a big focus on being able to ramp up quickly, fill multiple roles and generally do whatever needs to be done across a fairly broad skillset. At the moment, it is working pretty well, and based on the trends I am seeing, I think I guessed correctly.

  9. john personna says:


    Heh, when I put in this line:

    But there will not be “full employment” in the old sense, ever again.

    I was really hoping for some push-back, but if it’s true … well, big changes ahead.

  10. Racehorse says:

    What? The Jobs Bill (read Stimulus) won’t pass? That’s the best economic news in years. We need to see some figures on just how many jobs were saved/created by the last two stimulus bills: enough money to pay off everyone’s credit cards and mortgages. Now that would have stimulated the economy – people would have more money left over to spend.

  11. john personna says:


    The stimulus has won that argument, with people who understand the words “unanticipated counterfactual.”

    On tax, Tyler Cowen explains it to you:

    IN a debate in August, Republican presidential candidates were asked whether they would support a budget deal that bundled $10 of spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases. All said no. They rejected any deal that involved raising taxes.

    Curiously, though, if this approach actually were to become government policy, it would have a surprising effect: it would surely lead to higher rather than lower taxes.

  12. Bob says:

    You can’t spend your way to prosperity and the whole world is moving towards recession or depression. Obama’s policies have insured that the USA will not recover for a decade or more. His polies are so bad not even his own party is not supporting him with sufficient votes to move the bill in a body Democrats control. He and his ilk on here can blame Republicans all they want but the voters have it figured out. Obama one and out!