The Senate on October 11 rejected President Obama’s $447-billion jobs bill (Sen 1660) as two Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the measure. Concern over a 5.6-percent surtax on millionaires led all GOP members, with the exception of Sen. Tom Colburn, R-Okla,, who is recovering from surgery and not voting, to vote against the bill, and leaving Senate Democratic leaders little choice but to consider splitting the president’s signature jobs recovery bill into pieces.
Senate rules required a 60-vote threshold to take up the bill and the final tally of 50-to-48, with Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., voting against the legislation, led the White House to call for votes on individual portions of the legislation. An absent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., was expected to cast a yea vote later in the evening,
“Tonight’s vote is by no means the end of this fight,” said Obama in a statement following the vote. “Independent economists have said that the American Jobs Act would grow the economy and lead to nearly 2-million jobs, which is why the majority of the American people support these bipartisan, common-sense proposals. And we will now work with Sen. Reid to make sure that the individual proposals in this jobs bill get a vote as soon as possible.”
The legislation includes a payroll tax cut for businesses, expensing for new investments and regulatory reform. It also includes a tax credit for hiring veterans and the long-term unemployed, as well as an extension of unemployment insurance benefits. The most expensive items in the plan, at a cost of $240 billion, is cutting payroll taxes in half for all employees and employers in 2012.
Prior to the Senate vote, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in a written policy statement, praised the jobs bill, noting it would provide tax cuts for small businesses and put more money in the pockets of working families by cutting the payroll tax in half.
The administration endorsed the Senate’s proposed alternative to President Obama’s tax on millionaires, noting that the surtax proposal “ultimately could be replaced by a broader tax reform” that includes the Buffett Rule, ensuring that households with income exceeding $1 million annually would not pay a smaller share of its income in taxes than middle-class families.
By Jeff Carlson and Paula Cruickshank, CCH News Staff