News / USA

Obama's Jobs Plan Fails First Legislative Test

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell talks about President Obama's job bill,  Oct. 4, 2011
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell talks about President Obama's job bill, Oct. 4, 2011
Michael Bowman

The U.S. Senate has rejected President Barack Obama's plan to jump-start U.S. job creation through a combination of tax incentives and public works programs. In a procedural vote, the plan got no Republican backing and was opposed by three senators of the president's own Democratic Party.

For weeks, President Obama has traveled the country, demanding that Congress act on his jobs bill, designed to combat an unemployment rate stuck above nine percent.  On Tuesday, he got his wish, but not the result he hoped for.  The Senate voted 50 to 49 to begin debate on the $447 billion American Jobs Act. Although a majority, it was short of the 60 votes required under Senate rules.

The chamber’s top Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, portrayed the bill as an extension of what he sees as President Obama’s failed economic leadership.

“Today’s vote is conclusive proof that Democrats’ sole proposal is to keep doing what has not worked," said McConnell. "The president’s first stimulus was a legislative and economic catastrophe.  Eight-hundred-twenty-five billion dollars later, there are 1.7 million fewer jobs in this country than there were when the first stimulus was signed.”

The American Jobs Act contains tax breaks for businesses that hire new workers, an extension of temporary cuts in Social Security contributions made by wage and salary earners, an extension of federal jobless benefits, and federal funding for road construction, school renovation and other public works projects.  Although specific provisions differ from President Obama’s original economic stimulus package of 2009, its overall goal - using the federal government to jump-start economic activity and stimulate job creation -- is much the same.

Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid argued in favor of the plan, noting that the Senate version called for raising federal taxes on people earning more than $1 million a year to offset expenditures.

“This legislation will ask the richest Americans to give their fair share to get our economy back on track," said Reid. "The president’s plan will put construction crews back to work, building the things that make our country stronger - roads, bridges, dams, sewers, water systems, and up-to-date schools where our children get the best education possible.”

Reid accused Republicans of blocking economic progress to weaken President Obama before next year’s general elections.

“The president’s plan contains many ideas that Republicans have supported consistently over the years," he said. "Republicans oppose those ideas now.  I guess Republicans think if the economy improves, it might help President Obama.  So they root for the economy to fail and oppose every effort to improve it.”

Minority Leader McConnell countered that it is Democrats who are playing politics with the U.S. economy, pressing forward with a bill that stood little chance of passage in a politically-divided legislature.

“Democrats have designed this bill to fail in the hopes that anyone who votes against it will look bad for opposing a bill they have mistakenly referred to as a jobs bill," he said. "This whole exercise is a charade that is meant to give Democrats a political edge.”

Among the Democrats opposing the bill was Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who voiced opposition to raising taxes on the wealthy and expanded government spending.  Republicans criticized the plan as wasteful government spending at a time when the national debt is already exploding.

Despite the defeat of the president’s bill, some individual provisions such as tax deductions do enjoy bipartisan support and might be approved by Congress.  In the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Majority Leader Eric Cantor says he hopes to work with Democrats on those areas of agreement.  Hours before the Senate vote, President Obama voiced support for a piecemeal approach, if that is what it takes to secure congressional approval.  

In a statement after the vote, President Obama said the American people will not take "no" for an answer when it comes to job creation.  

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid