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Dems Plan Next Jobs Bill Vote

October 17, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Following up on last week’s symbolic vote on Obama’s jobs bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] has decided on the next step. He’s whittling the $447 billion down to a single, fully-offset $35 billion spending measure that would provide state and local aid to public employees facing layoffs. He’s planning to bring it up for a vote in the Senate later this week.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will begin breaking apart President Barack Obama’s jobs bill with a vote on the provision that helps states pay teachers and first responders, his office and the White House said Monday.

Reid will hold a press call Monday afternoon “to announce the introduction of the first individual component of President Obama’s jobs bill,” his office said in an email to reporters soon after White House press secretary Jay Carney alerted journalists aboard Air Force One. “The Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act will help states and local governments keep teachers in the classroom and police officers and firefighters on the beat.” […]

The president’s $447 billion American Jobs Act includes $35 billion in aid to states to prevent teacher layoffs and to rehire teachers laid off during the economic downturn. The president’s economic advisers say the bill could pay the salaries of nearly 400,000 teachers for one academic year. The piece of the jobs bill that Carney said the Senate will consider first would also fund some salaries for police officers and firefighters.

The bill would be paid for by a 0.5 percent surtax on individuals or married couples filing jointly who earn more than $1 million annually, a Senate Democratic aide said.

When Democrats brought a similar package of aid for state and local public workers to a vote back in 2010, they only got 2 Republicans to vote for it. With just 53 Democrats in the Senate now, that won’t be enough to get this past a Republican filibuster. And the accompanying surtax on the rich certainly isn’t going to help that cause either.

Basically, this looks like another attempt by Obama and the Democrats at creating a talking point. On the last jobs bill vote, the Republicans were able to say that the only bipartisan position was against the bill. This time the Democrats might be able to hold their caucus together, win over a couple Republicans, and claim that they have the bipartisan position. But this is still pretty far off from something that can pass the Senate and the Republican-led House to actually help save/create jobs.

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