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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More