Skip to comments.Senate Democrats buck Obama on jobs plan by changing 'pay-fors'
Posted on 10/04/2011 6:55:58 PM PDT by jazusamo
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) on Tuesday further distanced his Democratic Conference from President Obama by nixing a major component of the White Houses jobs plan.
Reid said he would revise parts of the proposal that some Senate Democrats have found unpalatable. The Nevada Democrat announced his new strategy on the same day he blocked a Republican effort to force a vote on Obamas jobs bill.
The GOP-led maneuver, and Reids counterattack, shows that Republicans are more united against Obamas plan than Democrats are for it.
Indeed, three weeks after Obama called on Congress to pass his jobs package immediately, the Democratic-led Senate has yet to vote on it.
Reid indicated he is going back to the drawing board to shore up wavering Democratic support for the $447 billion jobs bill.
Reid told his Democratic colleagues Tuesday that he would put together a new plan to pay for the package after rank-and-file colleagues balked at proposals to limit tax deductions for the wealthy and raise taxes on oil and gas companies.
There are a wide range of things that were looking at, because the only objections Ive heard from my caucus on the presidents jobs bill deal with the pay-fors, Reid said. So were resolving that issue as we speak.
However, Obama has repeatedly made it clear that his proposed offsets are a key part of his plan, saying they completely pay for his legislation and would also reduce the deficit.
Political observers had expected Reid to attempt to move Obamas jobs package in pieces, and he might still opt for that path. But for the time being, he is sticking to the presidents request to move his jobs legislation as a whole.
In an email to supporters titled They wont even vote on it, Obamas reelection campaign on Tuesday chastised House Republicans for not scheduling a vote on the bill.
The email, sent by Obamas campaign manager, Jim Messina, called the presidents legislation not controversial and urged people to contact Republican members over Twitter to demand a vote.
The email did not mention the Senate, nor Senate Democrats.
David Axelrod, the presidents senior political adviser, said last month the package was non-negotiable and Obama has traveled the country pressing Congress to pass it right away. The White House later walked back Axelrods claims.
Senate Republicans, sensing they have the upper hand, said Tuesday there should be a vote on the bill.
Ive noticed a number of Democrats have expressed their concerns about various parts of it, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. I think [the president] is entitled to know where the Senate stands on his proposal in its entirety.
The president wants a vote, and were going to be sure to give it to him, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said Tuesday.
Reid called McConnells request a political stunt, a charade and senseless.
He said, We now have a proposal that is ridiculous on its face ... that is that we vote with no debate on the presidents jobs bill.
McConnell was seeking to replicate the political success he scored earlier this year when he forced a vote on Obamas budget blueprint. Not a single Democrat voted for it. Democrats at the time said Republicans were playing political games, and refused to fracture over the budget plan.
Reid on Tuesday thwarted the GOP gambit by executing a procedural move that blocked Republicans from offering it as an amendment to pending China currency legislation.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday lambasted McConnells move and deferred to Reid on the scheduling of the vote on the jobs package.
We want it to be debated And for those who vote against it to explain why," Carney said.
Reid has said a vote will occur by the end of this month.
Several Democrats have left open the possibility that they would vote against considering the presidents plan, which limits deductions and increases taxes on health plans for families earning over $250,000 a year.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D), who faces a tough election in conservative Nebraska, said he would vote against a motion to begin floor debate on Obamas bill.
No, no, no, Nelson said, when asked if he would roll the dice by allowing the bill to come to the Senate floor in hopes of amending it. With the current offsets that are essentially tax increases? No.
This is a time to be cutting. The cutting stops when the taxes increase, he said.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), another vulnerable incumbent, said Tuesday he would oppose the jobs bill as Obama drafted it.
I cant support it in its current form, he told The Hill.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), a critic of the oil and gas tax provisions, which would hurt a crucial industry in her home state, said she had yet to make up her mind.
Im going to listen to what the leadership says and make a decision about that later, she said.
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) said she would prefer raising new revenues through comprehensive tax reform instead of zeroing in immediately on specific tax increases.
I think weve got to have comprehensive tax reform, she said. Im always interested in looking at what we can do from a comprehensive standpoint.
One aide to a vulnerable Democratic incumbent said it makes little sense for Obama to press lawmakers to pass the entire bill when it has no chance of getting the 60 votes it needs to clear the upper chamber.
The aide said Obama has transitioned into campaign mode and appears more interested in distinguishing himself from Congress than working with Republicans and centrist Democrats to bring to the floor jobs legislation that can pass.
Reid, meanwhile, noted that Obama expressed his willingness to embrace different ideas for paying for the plan.
Remember, when the president announced this bill, heres what he said: Ive given some suggestions for pay-fors. If senators and members of the House have better ideas that they want to do something differently to pay-for, thats fine with me, Reid said.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) acknowledged on a conference call Tuesday that leaders would have to change the bill to pick up more support.
Were also going to work on the number of votes to support it, Durbin said Tuesday in a conference call. It may not be the exact plan presented by the president.
Daniel Strauss contributed to this report.
What ever happened to the Magnicent 12, or whatever the Un-Constitutional Super-Committee is called?
Beats me, there’s been practically no mention of them that I’ve seen, I’d bet they’re planning no good though.
LOL there goes Obama’s plan to blame the GOP for killing his jobs bill.
Why is it that I hear DEBT, DEBT, DEBT whenever You Lie Obama makes a speech about jobs, jobs, jobs?
I'm sure the feeling is mutual among congressional rats. Obama is political poison to them.
Amen! They want to get as far from him as they possibly can.
There's the strategy.
Regardless of how the rest of the article soft-peddles the change, if Reid changes the bill then it has to go to the House to approve the Senate changes. The House already has its version of the bill under consideration.
Boehner will then be squeezed to add the Reid changes, or else Boehner and the GOP will be accused of holding up the bill.
I sure hope Nebraskans have a long enough memory to remember the stunt that rat bastard Nelson pulled.