In the end, two Democrats and Joe Lieberman voted with Republicans to filibuster a bite sized version of President Obama’s jobs bill.
From The Hill:
The measure, a piece of President Obama’s larger jobs package, failed by a tally of 50 to 50 after several Democrats joined with Republicans to the Senate from moving to the measure.
Democrats Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), who voted last week to block Obama’s full jobs measure, again sided with Republicans.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, also said no, citing concerns about the legislation’s cost effectiveness.
As with last week’s vote, Democrats failed to woo a single Republican vote. The staunchly unified GOP opposition calls into question whether the Democratic strategy has been able to exert the intended pressure on centrist Republicans.
Vice President Joe Biden visited Capitol Hill Wednesday to hold a rally with Senate Democrats blasting Republicans for protecting millionaires at the expense of the working class.
Republicans accuse Senate Democratic leaders of playing politics by bringing to the floor a bill that raised taxes instead of working in good faith to pass bipartisan legislation.
The $35 billion Democratic measure was designed to prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers and firefighters in cash-strapped states. Most of the funding, $30 billion, would have gone to saving teaching jobs and the rest to first responders.
The most controversial element of the bill was a plan to pay for it by raising taxes on income over $1 million by 0.5 percent. Republicans argued that it would put more pressure on small businesses that are already having difficulty maintaining cash flow because of the tight credit market. …
UPDATE: Here’s the president’s statement about the vote, which I’m sure the White House expected… In short, Harry Reid is going to keep feeding these softballs to Republicans so that the party and its individual members can keep racking up the anti-jobs, pro millionaires votes. It’s smarter politics than we’ve seen from the Democrats for some time, from a messaging point of view. Unfortunately, so far it’s not pressuring moderate GOPers to come along (not to mention those conservative Dems and Lieberman.)
Statement from President Obama on the Senate Vote on Teacher and First Responder Jobs
For the second time in two weeks, every single Republican in the United States Senate has chosen to obstruct a bill that would create jobs and get our economy going again. That’s unacceptable. We must do what’s right for the country and pass the common-sense proposals in the American Jobs Act. Every Senate Republican voted to block a bill that would help middle class families and keep hundreds of thousands of firefighters on the job, police officers on the streets, and teachers in the classroom when our kids need them most.
Those Americans deserve an explanation as to why they don’t deserve those jobs – and every American deserves an explanation as to why Republicans refuse to step up to the plate and do what’s necessary to create jobs and grow the economy right now.
We must rebuild the economy the American way and restore security for the middle class, based on the values of balance and fairness. Independent economists have said the American Jobs Act could create up to two million jobs next year. So the choice is clear. Our fight isn’t over. We will keep working with Congress to bring up the American Jobs Act piece by piece, and give Republicans another chance to put country before party and help us put the American people back to work.
Also important to note that even if the two Democrats and Lieberman had supported the bill, it would have fallen seven votes short of what is needed to break a GOP filibuster. That’s why the White House emphasizes the GOP, aside from the politics. They can afford to let the conservadems walk away (Nelson faces a tough re-election in 2012 in conservative Nebraska, and he’s not keen on spending programs on a good day. Pryor is up for re-election in 2014, so consider his opposition deep seated and ideological, as well as influenced by the conservative state he represents — Arkansas. Lieberman isn’t running for re-election.)