President Obama's jobs proposals are having no easier passing as individual policies as they did as one big package, as the Senate stayed up late on Thursday evening to reject a plan to give states and cities $35 billion to rehire up to 400,000 public workers. Republicans mainly objected 0.5 percent surtax on incomes above $1 million that would have funded the bill. The key vote was 50-50, far short of the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster, reports The New York Times. But like Obama's $447 billion jobs package, which died in the Senate on Oct. 12, both sides seemed to be mainly interested in posturing for the 2012 campaign. According to The Times, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hammered at familiar Republican talking points:
The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, derided the Democrats’ proposal as “a government jobs bill.” He said it would “impose a permanent tax hike on about 300,000 U.S. business owners and then use the money to bail out cities and states that cannot pay their bills.”
Meanwhile, out on his campaign to up the pressure on Congressional Republicans to back his plans -- or at least go on record as opposing them -- Obama previewed some lines that he'll likely repeat during his reelection bid. As The Washington Post reports:
“If they vote against these proposals, if they say no to steps we know that will put people back to work right now, they’re not going to have to answer to me. They’re going to have to answer to you,” Obama told firefighters at a stop in Chesterfield, Va., on Wednesday.
Thursday night's vote, as expected, was party-line, with only Democratic Senators Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut crossing their caucus to join Senate Republicans.