Photo: AP Photo/Susan Walsh
President Barack Obama’s jobs bill is now deader than dead.Weeks after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) declared it dead in the lower chamber, on Tuesday evening the Senate failed reach the 60 votes needed to allow debate on the bill.
The widely-expected vote is the first in a series Democrats plan on holding on the bill for the purposes of political theatre, as Obama and congressional leaders work to find portions of the bill they can agree on and pass.
Obama has called on Congress to “pass this bill” ad nauseum, but his appeals to constituents and the press could not get the Senate to vote for a plan he claimed should be supported by majorities in both parties.
Seeking to gain a greater share of Democratic votes, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid amended Obama’s plan to include a $453 billion surtax on those with incomes greater than $1 million a year, but even that wasn’t enough.
Over half of the bill’s $447 billion price tag comes from an extension and expansion of the payroll tax cut expiring at the end of the year, that Obama said could cost the economy up to 1 million jobs if not passed.
Obama has also pledged to prioritise infrastructure spending, with some Senate Democrats working with Republicans to pair an infrastructure bank with a tax repatriation holiday for businesses.
“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,” he told his jobs council Tuesday. “And having the relevant businesses get behind a effort to move this infrastructure agenda forward is a priority.”
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