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Senate Republicans, with help of 2 Democrats, kill Obama's jobs bill

By Laura Litvan

Bloomberg News

LAST UPDATED: 01:13 a.m. HST, Oct 12, 2011

Opponents of President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs plan had enough votes to block the measure in the Senate on Tuesday, with two Democrats joining Republicans to derail his prime proposal to help turn around the struggling economy.

The tally on the test vote wasn't completed by early evening as the roll call remained open for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, who was on her way back to Washington to vote in support of the plan. More than 40 senators voted against permitting debate on the measure, effectively shelving it.

The broad plan includes cuts in payroll taxes for workers and employers and provides new funding for roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the measure a "lousy idea" that relies on proposals similar to 2009's $825 billion stimulus, an effort he said that failed to work.

"If voting against another stimulus is the only way we can get Democrats in Washington to finally abandon this failed approach to job creation, then so be it," said McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.

Senate Democratic leaders last week revised the president's initial proposal, partly to try to pick up more support within their party. That scrapped Obama's method of paying for the jobs proposal, including higher taxes on families making more than $250,000 a year. Senate leaders substituted a 5.6 percent surtax on people making at least $1 million annually.

Even so, Democratic Senators Jon Tester of Montana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska opposed the plan. "I can't support tax gimmicks that do little to create jobs" and don't address the need for a bipartisan deficit-cutting plan, Tester said in a statement.

Before the Senate voted, Majority Leader Harry Reid accused Republicans — who are trying to take control of the Senate and White House in 2012 — of attempting to hamper the economy for political benefit. He said Republicans are opposing job-creation ideas they supported in previous years.

"Republicans oppose those ideas now because they have a proven track record of creating jobs, and Republicans think if the economy improves it might help President Obama," said Reid, a Nevada Democrat. "So they root for the economy to fail, and oppose every effort to improve it."

The vote leaves Obama's economic agenda in limbo because the political parties disagree about what should be done to lower the nation's 9.1 percent unemployment rate, said Clint Stretch, managing principal of tax policy at Deloitte Tax LLP in Washington. Republicans seek permanent tax cuts and deregulation, while Obama and congressional Democrats want more federal spending and short-term tax reductions.

"I think the president's jobs initiative is at the end of its legislative life — not that it really had one," Stretch said. He said the focus will likely shift away from jobs and toward the work of a congressional supercommittee that is tasked with finding a way to cut $1.5 billion from the federal deficit over 10 years.

Obama said Tuesday that, if lawmakers won't pass his entire $447 billion jobs package, it may be broken up into individual provisions that can get through Congress. The president said the Senate vote would pose a "moment of truth," allowing voters to see how senators stand on the jobs issue.

"I don't know how Congress will respond to the overall package, but our expectation is, is if they don't pass the whole package, we're going to break it up into constituent parts," Obama said as he met with his council on jobs and competitiveness in Pittsburgh.

Obama proposes to create jobs by cutting payroll taxes for workers and employers by half, extending jobless benefits, providing aid to states for schools and emergency workers and boosting spending on public works projects such as roads and bridges. He also would provide tax breaks for employers to hire the unemployed.

The plan considered Tuesday would be financed by Senate Democratic leaders' proposed surtax on people earning at least $1 million a year, which the U.S. Congressional Budget Office said would raise $453 billion.

Obama endorsed the leaders' plan. He had proposed capping itemized deductions for individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and couples earning more than $250,000. He also proposed raising taxes on private equity firm managers, real estate investors and venture capitalists, and ending oil and gas subsidies.

The new method of offsetting the bill's costs still ran into Democratic opposition. Senator James Webb, a Virginia Democrat, said he would vote to let debate start, but wouldn't support the Senate jobs legislation as it was drafted. He said a tax on millionaires that is income-based fails to address real issues of inequality in the tax code. He said the best method to spread the tax burden would be to boost taxes on capital gains.

"The present proposal looks good at first glance; it sounds good on a TV bite, but in all respect to the people who put it forward, I do not believe it's smart policy and it does not go where the real economic division lies in our country," Webb said.

In the House, Obama's plan also faces hurdles. Republicans who hold the majority oppose the tax increases, and party leaders there also have said it adds spending in many areas already bolstered in 2009's economic stimulus measure.

House Republican leaders say some of Obama's ideas, such as payroll tax cuts, are worth considering.

The Senate bill is S. 1660.

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1local wrote:
Politicians need to start compromising. The future of the USA and the world are on the line. the bickering and taunting are not getting anything done. Business as usual is not the solution. The USA needs great leaders to step forward. The emphasis should be on sustained growth and confidence in the future... Special Interest groups should be restricted from political involvement. All existing expenditures should be researched and identified if the costs are sustainable. There are a lot of wants - everyone needs to want to contribute...
on October 11,2011 | 06:19AM
lolo_kamaaina wrote:
I don't think Obama was inviting compromise when, during his nationwide address, he appealed to Republicans to pass his jobs bill without any changes . Instead, it looked like an obvious attempt to paint Republicans as the bad guys for a bill that isn't even fully supported by his own party.
on October 11,2011 | 09:30AM
LanaUlulani wrote:
EXACTLY. Obama acted like the BULLY he is saying that they MUST do as he says. People talk about bullying in schools. Obama is one of the biggest bullies of them all! and he is the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government. Say NO to BULLYING and THREATS BY BULLIES LIKE OBAMA.
on October 11,2011 | 10:11AM
mona2011 wrote:
its funny because during the debt ceiling the nation was saying that Obama wasn't agressive enough or firm enough with congress in order to get a deal through, now after the debt ceiling crisis, and we're going into a phase of trying to create jobs everybody saying that is too agressive or pushy towards congress, about pushing this jobs bill package.. can't we as american citizens make up our minds about how we like to see our president behave... I'll say NO TO BULLYING.. but we must remember that bullying comes from the adults and how they treat other adults, so lets look at ourselves in the mirror.. we are trying to use our president as our puppet and get him to do our bidding,'GET MAD, WHEN WE WANT YOU TOO, AND GET WEAK WHEN WE SAY SO.. SO NOW WHO IS THE BULLY... WE ARE!!!!!
on October 12,2011 | 03:37AM
LanaUlulani wrote:
Except I did NOT vote for Obama. He was a bully with Quantitative Easing 2, Quantitative Easing 3, TARP2, and Obama Care which are all making things WORSE yet he PUSHED IT THROUGH with the help of the Democrat controlled House AND Senate in 2008 so do NOT blame me. It is OBAMA who did these ACTIONS. Not me so please keep your INANE preaching to YOURSELF.
on October 12,2011 | 07:01AM
Manapua_Man wrote:
Looks like the Republican's main priority now is to get after Obama.
on October 11,2011 | 06:52AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Looks like Obamaʻs main priority is getting re-elected. This job bill is too expensive and extremely flawed. Let businesses operate and the jobs will come back.
on October 11,2011 | 08:16AM
OldDiver wrote:
Let's see. More American Jobs means a better economy which guarantees President Obama being re-elected. Nah, winning back the White House is much more important than the well being of middle class America.
on October 11,2011 | 08:33AM
Ripoff wrote:
They are all crooks with deep pockets and connections with major corporations. They don't give a $hit about the blue collared worker!
on October 11,2011 | 07:02AM
OldDiver wrote:
Republicans believe blue collared workers are $#it.
on October 11,2011 | 08:36AM
LanaUlulani wrote:
Actually my father is a retired trucker and he is a Republican. Please STOP with the baseless stereotypes.
on October 11,2011 | 09:49AM
lolo_kamaaina wrote:
On the contrary, the blue collar worker in the US is treated like a king compared to the rest of the world. The success of the blue collared worker in the USA over the last hundred years is the reason they have priced themselves out of the world economy. US workers want $30 an hour plus medical plus vacation plus retirement plan to screw on a bolt or to drill a hole while those overseas will gladly do it for $2 an hour under sweatshop conditions as it is far better than making $2 per day working in the fields.
on October 11,2011 | 10:23AM
NITRO08 wrote:
Your name fits you, can you live on $2 per day or an hour? You must be a white collar worker that drinks coffee all day.
on October 11,2011 | 03:26PM
AhiPoke wrote:
What's not stated is that the bill contains a section that allows unemployed applicants to to sue companies that hire an already employed applicant and not them. There are many reasons why people are unemployed and and not all of them are because of bad luck. This also means that companies can't hire the applicant whom they consider the best. All this will do is encourage more frivolous litigation and discourage employers from posting new positions. Attorneys are already lining up to start suing employers, no matter how bad their clients are because they know companies will pay something just to settle the case. Obummer will go down as one of the worse presidents we've ever had. In his attempt to gain re-election he's dividing our country. I wish Hillary would run. She'd bury the bum.
on October 11,2011 | 07:09AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Iʻm with you, Hillary would be a very good option!
on October 11,2011 | 08:18AM
OldDiver wrote:
Don't make me laugh.Your Republican TV (Fox News) talking point comes right from the manuel. What corporations are doing is laying off qualified workers and hiring replacements at minimum wage. While this is good for corporate profits this is bad for the economy. People without extra income to spend don't stimulate the economy. While corporations make huge profits in the short run, in the long run a sputtering economy will eventually close them down.
on October 11,2011 | 08:43AM
AhiPoke wrote:
Sorry OldMan I'm not a republican but I appreciate that I helped you laugh. In fact, I think just as badly about them as I do the democrats. Unlike you, I don't tie myself to a party and believe everything they say. I try to think for myself. I run a company and some of what you say makes no sense. It takes a lot of money to hire and train new employees. Any company stupid enough to replace a good employee with someone only to pay less will not survive very long. Unless we're headed to become a socialist country, obama's plans to increase the size of government makes no sense. Government workers add nothing of value. They are paid too much for doing too little. If obama is serious about improving the economy he'd be trying to stimulate the private sector, not destroying it. My guess is that you've never run a company. If you have you'd understand how difficult it is do maneuver through thousands of regulations, many that are old and ridiculous.
on October 11,2011 | 10:11AM
KeithHaugen wrote:
Republicans in DC need to put the country first; their rich friends (and selves) second. They are so determined to keep Obama from solving the problems created by GW Bush and being re-elected in 2012, they will stop at nothing.
on October 11,2011 | 07:33AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Get over Bush! He screwed up but this President had 2 years and only made things worse. He is a lot like our Governor, pompous and God like. He has shown no leadership ability and does not compromise well. He has created a level of disrespect for the Presidency. I donʻt like it. The Republicans are just as much to blame for the disrespectful attitude towards the President. However, his bickering in public and airing his discontent is not the proper way to get things done.
on October 11,2011 | 08:24AM
NITRO08 wrote:
How did he make it worse?
on October 11,2011 | 03:34PM
OldDiver wrote:
Republicans only put campaign contributions first which is why they bow to their corporate masters.
on October 11,2011 | 08:44AM
LanaUlulani wrote:
Likewise Democrats also answer to Goldman Sachs666.
on October 11,2011 | 09:47AM
AhiPoke wrote:
What do you say about the prediction that obummer will spend more than $1B on his next campaign? Do you really believe he's not already "bowing" to his previous contributors?
on October 11,2011 | 01:53PM
AhiPoke wrote:
Your presumption is that republicans are not putting the country first and the democrats are. That is based on an assumption that obama is doing the right things which I believe is questionable. Even democrats have voted against his bills. BTW, I think both parties are corrupt. I also think more government spending will not solve the country's economic problems. While agree the bush started many of the country's economic problems, obama has had three years and done virtually nothing about it. Isn't it about time for obama to take responsibility?
on October 11,2011 | 08:57AM
OldDiver wrote:
Well yeah..........The blue dog Democrats (they are really Republicans) have voted with the Republicans to drive the economy into the ditch so a Republican will win the White House in 2012.
on October 11,2011 | 09:17AM
lolo_kamaaina wrote:
Have you ever considered that the blue dog Democrats are simply voting their mind and conscience? Just because you are a Democrat or a Republican, does that mean you have to give up thinking for yourself?
on October 11,2011 | 10:17AM
LanaUlulani wrote:
E kala mai Mr. Haugen but President Obama IS a millionaire. He needs to be OUSTED immediately.
on October 11,2011 | 09:34AM
rtabata wrote:
Dear Lana, I hope you are not suggesting that millionaires should not be presidents because unless we reform political campaign financing in this country, campaigns will continue to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. So before you criticize him for being "rich," be fair to him and all big time politicians. It is a reality unless we change the system. Perhaps that's why we are seeing a "revolt" in the streets. BTW, I continue to be an Obama supporter because he's doing his best against many odds. I don't see any other politician who could the job as well. In fact, some of the GOP candidates are downright scary. And if you think you have all the answers, you should run for office!
on October 11,2011 | 02:36PM
LanaUlulani wrote:
No I am not suggesting that millionaires should not be presidents.Mr. Haugen wrote this: "Republicans in DC need to put the country first; their rich friends (and selves) second. They are so determined to keep Obama from solving the problems created by GW Bush and being re-elected in 2012, they will stop at nothing." Obama is also rich with rich friends who puts them ahead of this country and its people. Stating that Republicans are the ones who do it. Democrats HYPOCRITICALLY do it too. Examples are QE2, QE3, and TARP2 where Obama the millionaire gave BILLIONS of dollars of taxpayer money to his bank friends putting these RICH PEOPLE ahead of the country AND its people. Don't be a hypocrit!!!
on October 11,2011 | 06:41PM
Kuokoa wrote:
PRIVATE BUSINESS creates jobs, not government!!!! How many times we gotta tell the politicians?
on October 11,2011 | 07:40AM
OldDiver wrote:
Private business cannot create jobs without a regulated system set up by government. This is the economics 101 class Republicans never took. The best example of this is the libertarian paradise of Somalia where mass murder and drug lords rule. With little government structure and no regulations private business cannot exist there. Getting one's economics education from Republican TV (Fox News) is why we are in the "Second Great Republican Depression".
on October 11,2011 | 08:53AM
LanaUlulani wrote:
Actually it is OBAMA who pushed for Quantitative Easing 2 and 3 after he signed TARP2 into law where he gave BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars to big banks after hiring Wall Street executives who are now in his administration. It is OBAMA who further devalueD the American dollar and now we have hyperinflation where incomes are NOT increasing but food prices, gas prices, and power prices ARE. It is OBAMA who redistributed the people's money to big banks. Now mothers and grandmothers have even LESS money to buy FOOD to put in their babies' mouth!
on October 11,2011 | 09:59AM
alohachef wrote:
Kuokoa said, "PRIVATE BUSINESS creates jobs, not government!!!! How many times we gotta tell the politicians?" Yes, they do. However, private business will not create jobs, post openings, or expand their businesses if the economy is bad. For example, if a restaurant is not busy they will need to control both their labor and food costs. They'll cut labor and even reduce or eliminate items on the menu to make ends meet. There reason is that without customers, why do we have to keep the same amount of staff or menu. When the economy gets better, then they MIGHT start hiring and creating new jobs. I say might, because a lot of companies will see that when they trimmed their staff, they controlled costs. If they can keep the same staffing and increase revenue without sacrificing service, they will not increase their payroll or labor costs. That's what big businesses are doing right now. They have cut, slashed, and reduced their labor costs, and are still making profits with what the staffing they have. Thus, they won't hire because they see that they are still making profits without hurting their labor costs.
on October 11,2011 | 08:12AM
OldDiver wrote:
Without government regulation restaurants compete by serving last weeks food. They don't do the costly measures to keep the place free of roaches. They throw the grease down the storm drain. This is the Republican idea of competition. Democrats on the other hand believe if you cannot keep a clean establishment which serves safe food then you do not have the right to exist as a restaurant.
on October 11,2011 | 09:08AM
lee1957 wrote:
Interesting article but factually incorrect. The Senate is not taking up Obama's job bill, they are debating Harry Reid's jobs bill. Last week Reid prevented a vote on Obama's bill. If the reporter was not funtionally illiterate he would have caught that. But then it would not have neatly fit the narrative that its all the fault of the Republicans. Both sides are full of do*che bags that need to go.
on October 11,2011 | 08:13AM
inverse wrote:
Talk about BIASED reporting. The Democrats have the majority in the Senate, which means if all Senate democrats support Obama's job stimulus bill, the Senate republicans could not block it. The key to this story is mentioned at the very end regarding swing democrats who most likely will not support Obama and side with Republicans. Obama FAILED with his last TRILLION dollar stimulus measures so what makes anyone think the outcome will be any different? Add to the fact the Solyndra and other job stimulus failures and it is clear rational thinking Republicans and some democrats will not support Obama (ie Jimmy Carter #2) and send the US into further financial ruin. By the way, like the failed Akaka bill, Hawaii will NEVER receive the billion and half from the Feds to help pay for an Aloha train to nowhere. By late 2012 when money is supposedly will be made available to Hawaii for the train, Obama, LaHood and Rogoff will be long gone.
on October 11,2011 | 08:36AM
OldDiver wrote:
It takes sixty votes in the Senate to pass anything. With just over fifty votes in the Senate Democrats are at the mercy of a few sane Republican who wish to put Country before party. So far the majority of Republican Senators are siding with "party" and are intend of driving this country into the "Second Great Republican Depression" to win the White House in 2012.
on October 11,2011 | 09:14AM
AhiPoke wrote:
OldDiver you're entitled to your opinion just like everyone else is. Based on your comments you seem to sincerely believe everything that's gone wrong is the republicans fault and the democrats can do no wrong. How then, do you explain Hawaii where 99% of our legislature are democrats and except for lingle we've had democratic governors for 50+ years and yet our economy stinks? Are those token republicans that are in political office able to screw our state up that bad?
on October 11,2011 | 02:03PM
LanaUlulani wrote:
If Democrats put the country before their party they would NOT have passed TARP2 then worked complicitly with the Federal Reserve and their Quantitative Easing 2 and Quantitative Easing 3 which further devalueD the American dollar when they controlled the House, Senate, AND the White House in 2008. Now they lost control of the House and they will lose the White House in 2012. They have NO ONE ELSE to blame except THEMSELVES. This is what they get for giving BILLIONS upon BILLIONS of dollars to big banks instead of to the PEOPLE which is what the DEMOCRATS did with TARP2 which OBAMA signed into law. Now they are facing the consequences and have NO ONE ELSE TO BLAME EXCEPT THEMSELVES.
on October 12,2011 | 06:57AM
kainalu wrote:
Of course they will. They're stated agenda "is to make President Obama fail by any means necessary". If that means dragging down the country with it, so be it.
on October 11,2011 | 08:58AM
LanaUlulani wrote:
Thank you for stopping Obama's "Another New Tax Act" which he tries to sell as "American Jobs Act." Obama is a BULLY. Just say NO to bullying!
on October 11,2011 | 09:32AM
rtabata wrote:
Dear Lana, I don't see how you can accuse President Obama of being a bully (in caps). Any blind person can see that he does not have enough political power to push through anything at will. If he had the capacity to bully others, we would not have this political gridlock. So, please reserve the label "bully" for the GOP who are creating roadblocks every chance they get to bring the country to its knees so their agenda succeeds. Right label--wrong accused.
on October 11,2011 | 02:41PM
LanaUlulani wrote:
Yes Obama is a BULLY who ASSASSINATED TWO Americans without DUE PROCESS which is GUARANTEED by the 5th AMENDMENT in the Bill of RIGHTS http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/world/middleeast/secret-us-memo-made-legal-case-to-kill-a-citizen.html THAT SIR is an epitome of a BULLY.
on October 11,2011 | 06:55PM
NITRO08 wrote:
on October 11,2011 | 03:43PM
LanaUlulani wrote:
No. Obama's "American Jobs Act" is really "Another New Tax Act." Obama himself is a millionaire. He will NOT tax himself. However he will tax YOU AND I and continue to do so. It's in his 2012 White House Budget http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/tables.pdf where PERSONAL income taxes are increasing exponentially. Obama the millionaire has NO plans to tax HIMSELF and others like him who are "rich." Obama is a PSYCHO who is also a BULLY and LIAR. Thanks to the Democrats who control the Senate as well as to Republicans who are STOPPING HIM.
on October 11,2011 | 06:52PM
Anonymous wrote:
Time for everyone to vote and be heard.
on October 11,2011 | 10:00AM
Anonymous wrote:
The only way the rich stay rich is to keep the poor very poor. By keeping wages down and profits will go up for the few.
on October 11,2011 | 10:02AM
Denominator wrote:
You should try reading a book some day. You might learn something.
on October 11,2011 | 02:48PM
NITRO08 wrote:
All depends on who is wrting the books!
on October 11,2011 | 03:46PM
entrkn wrote:
Time for several million of the 99% to show up in Washington...
on October 11,2011 | 11:52AM
rtabata wrote:
Let's not blame President Obama for being inflexible. He's offering idea and solutions, but not getting much help from the opposition. He even invited opponents to come up with better ideas. So far, I believe his opponents are just standing in the way and not offering reasonable solutions, or even willing to sit down and work toward a consensus approach. President Obama is trying to find a middle path that will help middle class Americans, but he certainly is not getting any help from most GOP politicians, and even a few Democrats. If the US doesn't come up with some good solutions soon, we could all go down the tubes together. There's enough blame to spread around. Let's get the elected officials in Congress off their collective okole and seriously work on solutions. Do we need to send them back to kindergarten where they can learn how to cooperate and play together?
on October 11,2011 | 02:28PM
Denominator wrote:
You don't get it. Keep Government OUT of it! Government shouldn't and can't solve every issue and every problem that Americans have. Government trying to fix the economy has only made it worse. The compromise would be to have the Democrats just stay away from the problem for two years and let it get better as Americans solve their problems. Obama wants credit for fixing the economy but he's already done more to hurt it than Bush did.
on October 11,2011 | 02:47PM
NITRO08 wrote:
on October 11,2011 | 03:39PM
LanaUlulani wrote:
Actually Denominator is CORRECT. Obama's Quantitative Easing 2 AND 3 and TARP2 made things MUCH MUCH WORSE. It's better for him NOT to do anything. He is the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government who is making things MUCH worse especially for women who are unable to fight the devalueD American dollar. He needs to be FIRED IMMEDIATELY.
on October 11,2011 | 07:05PM
kapoleitalkstory wrote:
Not one republican is paying attention to the people (and 2 democrats) shame on them!
on October 11,2011 | 03:59PM
dougatpaumalu wrote:
sickening is probably the best way to describe current republican behavior in government and in their politicking for the 2012 elections. the few good ideas in their bag have been drowned by an incredibly unhealthy determination to create a new state in their own self image so badly they are willing to lie, cheat, steal, distort, conceal, block, destroy our economy, blame and slander the president, and sink our country in the process. their most monumental concealment: prime reason for the job loss is outsourcing of millions of jobs by US businesses. shhhh. don't tell anyone. the business will lose a little of their excess fat. but middle income Americans will have their jobs back, self reliance and pride back, and the economy will thrive and the many crises precipitated by concealment will abate.,
on October 11,2011 | 05:46PM
LanaUlulani wrote:
Actually DEMOCRATS control the U.S. Senate http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/history/one_item_and_teasers/partydiv.htm Majority Party: Democrat (51 seats) Minority Party: Republican (47 seats) and am SO glad that Obama the Bully did NOT get the 60 votes. Thanks to the Democrats who control the U.S. Senate AND the Republicans who worked together on COMMON GROUND to STOP OBAMA's "American Jobs Act" which is really "Another New Tax Act ON YOU AND I." IThank you for stopping BULLY OBAMA! I really appreciate it!
on October 12,2011 | 06:51AM
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