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Dems Revise Jobs Bill to Make it Fail Less Hard

October 5, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

At this point there are basically two conceivable ways for Obama and the congressional Democrats to get their jobs bill, the American Jobs Act, through Congress this year. They could cut it down dramatically to things that could potentially get bipartisan support, like the payroll tax holiday and the unpaid job training program for the unemployed, or they could go hardball and threaten to withhold appropriations and shut down the government.

This morning, Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] (pictured) announced what he intends to do. He’s going with none of the above, choosing the purely political option instead.

The plan is to remove the corporate tax increases in the bill, which are causing a significant chunk of Senate Dems to oppose the bill, and replace it with a 5% surtax on all income above $1 million. The move will help shore up the Democratic caucus a bit — when the Senate voted on a similar measure last year only 4 Democrats voted no, and a couple of them voted no because they opposed the underlying bill. But it’s not designed to actually help get the bill through Congress. No Republicans voted for the millionaire tax increase last year, and no Republicans are going to vote for it this year. That means, at best, the Democrats will have 51 votes for the jobs bill (realistically more like 48 or so), which is still 9 votes short of the 60 needed to break a Republican filibuster.

That’s where the political plans come into play. As Steve Benen explains: “if just about all of the Senate Dems support the plan, the White House will be able to say that a majority of the Senate — like a majority of the American people and a majority of economists — backs the Americans Jobs Act, and it’s time for congressional Republicans to stop holding the economy back.”

There is no hope for any jobs bill passing this session. To the extent Obama and the Democrats have a plan, it’s a plan to get you to vote for them in 2012. The highly anticipated “pivot to jobs” is about to become a pivot to blaming Republicans. To be sure, the Republicans aren’t blameless. Over the past few years they’ve turned obstructionism into normal operating procedure in the Senate. But know that the Democrats aren’t exactly showing leadership or imagination here.

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