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Republicans Obstruct Third Jobs Measure in Senate

(photo: twolf1)

Republicans successfully filibustered the Rebuild American Jobs Act today, rejecting a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the bill by a count of 51-49. 60 votes were needed for passage. All 47 Republicans voted against cloture, and they were joined by two members of the Democratic caucus – Democrat Ben Nelson and the Connecticut for Lieberman Party’s Joe Lieberman. Both cited the pay-for on the $60 billion infrastructure measure, a tiny 0.7% marginal surtax on incomes over $1,000,000, as their reason for opposition.

Democrats for some reason allowed a Republican version of an infrastructure bill, which set spending for transportation projects at current levels in exchange for cutting “unused spending.” That failed by a count of 53-47. Joe Manchin was the only Democrat to vote for it, and Olympia Snowe the only Republican to vote against it. (UPDATE: I should have also mentioned that the GOP measure included the REINS Act, which would in essence shut down independent regulatory agencies and force them to put all regulations up for a say-so from Congress.)

This is the third jobs bill that Republicans have blocked in the Senate. The first was the entire American Jobs Act, followed by a bill for state fiscal aid. Now the infrastructure stand-alone has been obstructed.

The end of this story should be familiar to all of you. There is complete gridlock on any jobs measure. Republicans hold a minority veto in the Senate and they control the House. They do not want to see action on jobs lest it lead to an actual improvement in the country’s economic outlook. That would be bad for the 2012 elections. As it is, their strategy is working; according to Nate Silver President Obama is below a 50-50 shot to win re-election. So while in the short term, this strategy may make the Republicans unpopular, in the long run they feel it will help to have a depressed economy under a Democratic President going into the elections. So that’s the angle they’re working.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Republicans Obstruct Third Jobs Measure in Senate

Republicans successfully filibustered the Rebuild American Jobs Act today, rejecting a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the bill by a count of 51-49. 60 votes were needed for passage. All 47 Republicans voted against cloture, and they were joined by two members of the Democratic caucus – Democrat Ben Nelson and the Connecticut for Lieberman Party’s Joe Lieberman. Both cited the pay-for on the $60 billion infrastructure measure, a tiny 0.7% marginal surtax on incomes over $1,000,000, as their reason for opposition.

Democrats for some reason allowed a Republican version of an infrastructure bill, which set spending for transportation projects at current levels in exchange for cutting “unused spending.” That failed by a count of 53-47. Joe Manchin was the only Democrat to vote for it, and Olympia Snowe the only Republican to vote against it. (UPDATE: I should have also mentioned that the GOP measure included the REINS Act, which would in essence shut down independent regulatory agencies and force them to put all regulations up for a say-so from Congress.)

This is the third jobs bill that Republicans have blocked in the Senate. The first was the entire American Jobs Act, followed by a bill for state fiscal aid. Now the infrastructure stand-alone has been obstructed.

The end of this story should be familiar to all of you. There is complete gridlock on any jobs measure. Republicans hold a minority veto in the Senate and they control the House. They do not want to see action on jobs lest it lead to an actual improvement in the country’s economic outlook. That would be bad for the 2012 elections. As it is, their strategy is working; according to Nate Silver President Obama is below a 50-50 shot to win re-election. So while in the short term, this strategy may make the Republicans unpopular, in the long run they feel it will help to have a depressed economy under a Democratic President going into the elections. So that’s the angle they’re working.

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Republicans Obstruct Third Jobs Measure in Senate

David Dayen

David Dayen