The Senate this evening failed to get enough votes to move forward with a version of the President's jobs plan. The procedural measure required 60 votes to open debate on the bill. All Democrats voted to open debate except Tester (MT), and Nelson (NE). All Republicans voted no except Coburn (OK), who did not vote. The final tally was 50-49. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) changed his vote to "no," allowing him to bring up the measure later.
The bill contains much of the language in President Obama's American Jobs Act, but would pay for programs with a 5.6% tax surcharge on millionaires instead of the combination of tax increases on those making more than $250,000 and "loophole" closures the President had sought. Senate Republicans have said they'd oppose any new taxes or tax increases.
The President was in Pittsburgh today pressing Congress to act on the bill, saying the Senate "has a chance to do something about jobs right now."
Also in Pittsburgh, the President met with his Jobs Council, a group of business and union leaders, to discuss their interim report on the economy and job creation. They proposed streamlining government regulations, increasing high-skilled immigration and boosting international tourism to the U.S. The President called their ideas one part of the equation to improve the economy.
House Republican leaders have also expressed opposition the President's plan, and both Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) have refused to say if they will even bring it up for a vote.
The jobs bill was part of some parliamentary wrangling in the Senate last week- as minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sought to append the President's text to an unrelated China currency bill. Democratic leader Harry Reid (NV) objected and the resulting maneuver could result in fewer amendments being offered in the future once a bill has passed the 60-vote filibuster-proof threshold.