Dems help Republicans defeat Obama's jobs bill in the Senate

By Ben Feller

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 11 2011 7:03 p.m. MDT

The White House and Democratic leaders, however, were pleased that the great majority of Democrats voted for the plan. Support among Democrats was shored up by replacing Obama's tax increases — particularly a proposal to limit the value of itemized deductions for families making more than $250,000 — with the surcharge on millionaires.

That millionaires proposal would hit about 392,000 households, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank. In 2013, the first year the tax would take effect, those wealthy households would see their taxes increase by an average of $110,500, according to the analysis.

Just before the vote on Obama's jobs plan, the Senate passed legislation aimed at punishing China for keeping its currency undervalued against the dollar. Lower-valued currency helps Chinese exports at the expense, bill supporters say, of American jobs.

Next, both the House and Senate will turn Wednesday to approving trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea that could create tens of thousands of jobs, one of the few areas of agreement between Republicans and the administration on boosting the economy.

In coming weeks and months, Democrats promise further votes on jobs. But it remains to be seen how much of that effort will involve more campaign-stoked battles with Republicans and how much will include seeking common ground in hopes of passing legislation.

Leaders of the GOP-controlled House have signaled they support tax cuts for small businesses and changes to jobless insurance to allow states to use unemployment funds for on-the-job training. And they've indicated they'll be willing to accept an extension of cuts to the Social Security payroll tax. But stimulus-style spending is a nonstarter with the tea party-infused chamber.

Tuesday's vote played out as disaffected crowds continued to occupy Wall Street, a square in Washington and parts of other cities around the country in protest of income inequality and related issues.

Obama advisers said they were working with Senate Democratic leaders on how and when to break out separate aspects of the overall jobs bill for votes.

Even before Tuesday's defeat, the White House was casting the Senate vote as but the first act in what one Obama adviser called a long-term play — essentially, an autumn full of action to force Congress to take action on jobs. Senior Obama officials said it was important for the Senate to act to keep pressure on the Republican-led House.

Obama promised to press for quick action on public works spending.

"Having relevant businesses get behind an effort to move this infrastructure agenda forward is a priority," Obama told corporate and labor leaders Tuesday.

"We're going to need a push, I think, from the business community in particular in order to get this across the finish line," he said.

Associated Press writers Darlene Superville in Pittsburgh and Erica Werner in Washington contributed to this report.

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