Skip to comments.Defections by Senate Dems hamper Obama’s message on jobs
Posted on 10/23/2011 9:16:42 AM PDT by neverdem
Democratic defections and a united Republican front are hampering President Obamas message on the economy.
Last week and again Thursday night, there were a couple Democratic defections on Obamas jobs measure. And despite a veto threat from the White House, 10 Democrats voted for a GOP alternative.
The lack of a united front is complicating a key part of Obamas reelection strategy of running against Washington, and Congress in particular.
Obama has been lambasting the politics of Capitol Hill, and some say a few stray Democratic votes will prevent that message from resonating with voters in 2012.
Others claim that Democratic votes against Obamas jobs bills will be cited repeatedly next year by Republicans, who are determined to show Obama has failed to lead.
The White House stresses that a large majority of Democrats are solidly behind their president.
Lets be clear. Ninety-five percent of Senate Democrats voted to put teachers and first responders back to work. Exactly 0 percent of Senate Republicans joined them, White House press secretary Jay Carney told The Hill on Friday.
The bill failed because Senate Republicans blocked it. Senate Republicans decided they would not ask millionaires and billionaires to pay a little bit more in order to put up to 400,000 teachers in our classrooms teaching our children.
The Republican measure offered on the floor Thursday night won more votes than Obamas proposal.
The GOP embraced a component of Obamas jobs proposal eliminating the 3 percent withholding tax on federal contracts.
The administration favors the concept, but balked at the Republican offsets of unspecified spending cuts. The Office of Management and Budget added that if the bill were presented to the president with the offsets, his senior advisers would recommend a veto.
The threat did not sway some Democrats, who voted with the GOP. The 10 Democrats defections were: Sens. Al Franken (Minn.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Bill Nelson (Fla.).
Of these senators, Franken, Klobuchar, McCaskill and Tester are co-sponsors of a similar measure offered by Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.). After the vote, Republicans noted that Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) are also co-sponsors of Browns bill, but voted no.
Begich's and Pryors offices did not comment for this article at press time.
The Republican alternative attracted 57 votes, falling three short of passing and collecting more support than the Democratic bill backed by Obama, which was rejected, 50-50.
Every Republican rejected the Obama-backed bill while Sens. Pryor, Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ben Nelson also voted no.
Last week, Tester and Ben Nelson voted no on advancing Obamas comprehensive bill, and a couple others noted their opposition on the underlying legislation as they voted yes on the procedural motion.
Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said, By adding poison pills to their own legislation, Democrats ensured that the only thing bipartisan about their bills is the opposition.
Following the roll call, a frustrated Obama said, 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. Thats unacceptable.
Democrats had hoped to crack the Republican unity by seeking a vote on a scaled-back version of Obamas measure. But centrist GOP Sens. Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe (Maine), Susan Collins (Maine) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) rejected it.
The $35 billion Democratic bill 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, with the rest of the money directed to first responders.
Vice President Biden on Wednesday visited Capitol Hill to hold a rally with Senate Democrats, ripping Republicans for protecting millionaires at the expense of the working class.
Republicans countered by accusing Senate Democratic leaders of playing politics and decried their effort to raise taxes in an ailing economy.
Some of the differences between the two parties reflect rival views on how best to help the economy. Democrats have focused on measures that could spur growth in jobs immediately through temporary tax and spending measures. Republicans have focused on permanent changes to the tax code and trade deals, which they believe could have a larger impact on the economy in the long run.
Despite the defections on the Democratic side, there are signs that Republicans are worried about Obamas jobs message and his aggressive use of the bully pulpit. Contrary to this summer, during the heated debt-limit negotiations, GOP lawmakers have softened some of their rhetoric, noting they want to find common ground with the White House on Obamas jobs bill.
For example, the House will vote next week on the 3 percent withholding rule. GOP leaders have pointed out that Obama included repealing this mandate in his jobs plan. However, House Republicans have refused to allow a vote on the presidents entire proposal a fact that Obama has cited in speeches.
Obama and congressional Republicans worked this month to pass three long-stalled trade agreements, but the bipartisanship has not lingered.
After Obama called Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to congratulate him on the passage of the trade pacts, Boehner chastised him for suggesting Republicans dont have a jobs plan, according to a readout of the testy 10-minute call released by the Speakers office.
Days later in North Carolina, Obama mocked Republicans for not approving his entire jobs proposal.
Maybe they just couldnt understand the whole thing all at once, Obama said during an address in Asheville, N.C.
So were going to break it up into bite-size pieces so they can take a thoughtful approach to this legislation, Obama said earlier this week.
IMHO, most of them are up for re-election in 2012 and 2014. Besides Michael Bennet (Colo.) and Al Franken (Minn.), who isn't?
Franken is up for 2014. Pardon me.
Ho! Ho! My rat senator (Menendez) is on the list. There is hope here in NJ. I do wish however that pubs would publicize exactly how much the rich can really help here....how much is an additional 5 or 10% tax on the rich and how mmany $$$$ does that come to? It is my understanding that even if you take ALL the money from millionaires it wouldn’t amount to that much. Anyone know?
I’m shocked that these good Democrats oppose Obama.
Is it true that on Obama’s recent trip to North Carolina and Virginia, that the local Democrat congressmen didn’t want to be see with him? Obama and his boys don’t have the political skills to keep their party in line.
How can this be?
MSNBC told my left-leaning friends that the EVIL Republicans were holding up the jobs bill! And they believed it.
Whenever Menendez does not vote along with Lautenberg something is fishy is going on.
Oh right! up for election next year. How many of those cRats voted different from their other cRat of the same state ?
From Zero Hedge:
“This Weeks Reports: 3Q Real GDP Expected to Grow at +2.5%! (Or Is It Down -5.5%?), Case-Shiller Up +0.2%! (Or Is It Down -0.8%?)
Using the old definition of CPI, real GDP actually fell 5.5% in Q3.
Both Minn Dems defected, Machin voted opposite of Rockefeller, Bennet opposite of Col. Dem Udall,
What is the message in Minn?
Yeah...as in running away.
Baraq will be a lonely boy on the 2012 campaign trail.
Only Dems in the most absolutely whackjob liberal districts will dare appear with him.
Bachman no doubt is having a real effect there. And the huge move against the unions in WI is not helping Al either.
Herman Cain has a plan that will open up millions of jobs from the ground up. He says drill here, and drill now. And here is why Herman Cain is right!
Prof. Terry J Lovell
Simple....its’ called “UP FOR RE-ELECTION”.
Here’s a few Dem Senators up for re-election in 2014: Tim Johnson (SD), Max Bacus (MT), Mary Landrieu (LA), Mark Begich (AK), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), and Kay Hagen (NC).
In 2014, 20 Dems will be up for re-election, but only 13 Reps.
(In 2012, 23 Dems will be up for re-election, but only 10 Reps.)
“Defections by Senate Dems hamper Obama’s message on jobs”
“Defections by Senate Dems put the lie to Obama’s message on jobs”
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