The Senate is busy tonight: on one they have just started a currency war with China, on the other, they are about to force every bank to cut its GDP forecast now that the prospect of incremental future fiscal stimulus has just been kneecapped, following a widely expected failure to vote through Obama's job plan a move that immediately forcedthat pathological of pathologies, the US Treasury Secretary to announce that "the action by Republicans to block the full plan would likely result in weaker U.S. growth." Somehow, it will all be Bush's fault.
- Senate Lacks Votes to Advance Jobs Plan; Vote Is Continuing
From The Hill:
President Obama received a slap from members of his own party Tuesday as the Senate voted to block his $447 billion jobs package.
The jobs plan, which the president has spent much of the last month touting on a cross-country tour, fell well short of the 60 votes it needed to proceed.
The only Democrats to vote against the measure were Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jon Tester (Mont.), but a number of other centrists in the party indicated they would vote against the package even though they supported launching a debate on the measure.
All of the Republicans present on Tuesday voted against the motion.
The vote at 6:50 p.m. was 50-48.
Democratic leaders were holding the vote open to give Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) a chance to vote for it in a move that highlighted their desire to show the package winning as many Democratic votes as possible. She was scheduled to arrive late to town after receiving a civic award in Boston.
“The truth of the matter is, most Democrats know just as well as I do that passing another stimulus and tax hike is a lousy idea — which is why the president is having such a hard time convincing many Democrats to vote for it,” Senate Republican Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said before the vote.
In the run-up to the vote, Obama’s political advisers portrayed it as a black-and-white partisan fight between a president trying to address the nation’s high unemployment rate and Senate Republican leaders more interested in partisan politics than the national good.
“Their strategy is to suffocate the economy for the sake of what they think will be a political victory,” Jim Messina, campaign manager of Obama for America, wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “They think that the more folks see Washington taking no action to create jobs, the better their chances in the next election. So they're doing everything in their power to make sure nothing gets done.”
Centrist Democrats undercut that narrative by speaking out against Obama’s plan, even though they voted to debate it.
Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) voted to cut off a potential GOP filibuster, but said he nevertheless opposes raising taxes on ordinary income especially during a time of recession.
Senate Democratic leaders rewrote Obama’s jobs bill to pay for its stimulus by levying a 5.6-percent surtax on income over a million dollars beginning in 2013.
Webb said the federal government should give wealthy people incentive to invest in the economy instead of increasing their income taxes.
“I strongly believe that the way to bring good jobs back is to improve our economy in the private sector and that means more capital investment,” Webb said.
“Winston Churchill once said something to the effect that you can’t tax your way out of an economic downturn any more than you can pick up a bucket if you’re standing in it,” he added.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an independent who caucuses with Democrats, supported Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) bid to begin debate on Obama’s jobs package but voiced misgivings over its substance.
And from Reuters:
The U.S. Senate defeated President Barack Obama's job-creation package on Tuesday in a sign that Washington is likely too paralyzed to take major steps to spur hiring before the 2012 elections
As voting continued, opponents had amassed more than the 40 votes they needed to block the legislation in the Demcratic-controlled Senate.
The vote was not expected to officially close for several hours until one Democratic lawmaker returned to Washington, but that was not expected to affect the outcome.
But not all hope is lost to Obama:
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday that the Obama administration would push Congress to approve as much of its jobs plan as possible after the Senate voted to block the plan in its entirety.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Geithner said the action by Republicans to block the full plan would likely result in weaker U.S. growth.
"We're going to do everything we can to maximize the chance that we get as much of this done as possible," Geithner said. "And we should, because this bill includes things that have always had broad support among Democrats and Republicans, There's just no reason why politics should stand in the way of doing something for the economy now."
Good luck Treasury Secretary Timothy.