Senate Democrats Whittle Down Jobs Bill
Posted on Feb 12, 2010
Here we have yet another example of partisan politicking in action: Senate Democrats, led by Harry Reid, tossed out a jobs bill they’d created in tandem with Republicans and produced a trimmed-down alternative at the eleventh hour. This did not please their former collaborators from the GOP, who now have to choose whether to vote against the bill, and thus potentially come across as thwarting congressional efforts to create jobs, or go along with the Dems’ plan and overlook the provisions they supported in the original version. So much for cooperation on Capitol Hill. —KA
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s latest bill focuses on several popular provisions aimed at boosting job creation, including a new tax break negotiated with Republicans for companies that hire unemployed workers and for small businesses that purchase new equipment. It also would renew highway programs and help states and local governments finance large infrastructure projects.
Reid, D-Nev., put forward the pared-back plan after Senate Democrats balked at a broader bill stuffed with unrelated provisions sought by lobbyists for business groups and doctors. The surprise blew apart an agreement with key Republicans like Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who worked with Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., for weeks to produce a bill containing the extra provisions.
The original bill had won support from across the political spectrum, from President Barack Obama as well as conservative Republicans in the Senate, offering the promise of a rare bipartisan package in a Congress that has been gripped by partisan fights. To get that support, however, the package had morphed into a 361-page grab bag of provisions that included extending benefits to the unemployed and tax breaks for businesses.
Now, the bipartisan agreement is off.
Flickr / Matti Mattila