The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, October 21, 2011

Obama’s jobs plan defeated, he vows to press on

By The Building Tradesman

President Obama’s American Jobs Act, as expected, died a quick death in the U.S. Senate and likely won’t be resurrected any time before Election Day 2012.

All 46 Senate Republicans plus two Democrats voted against the bill on Oct. 10, which was “defeated” 50-48. Obama and Democrats need 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster. The bill would have died in the Republican-led House, anyway.

“Tonight’s vote is by no means the end of this fight,” Obama said. “Independent economists have said that the American Jobs Act would grow the economy and lead to nearly two million jobs, which is why the majority of the American people support these bipartisan, common-sense proposals.

“But even though this bill contains the kind of proposals Republicans have supported in the past, their party obstructed the Senate from moving forward on this jobs bill,” Obama added.

According to the AFL-CIO, the American Jobs Act would:

  • Create 2 million jobs.
  • Prevent 5 million workers from losing their unemployment benefits;
  • Make immediate investments in rebuilding and upgrading America’s highways, transit, rail, airports, bridges, ports, schools and communications and energy infrastructure;
  • Make sure the wealthy contribute their fair share to fixing our economy; the American Jobs Act is paid for by a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has said defeating Obama in next year’s presidential election is his top priority. He said “this whole exercise…is a charade. Democrats have designed this bill to fail. They’ve designed their own bill to fail in the hopes that anyone who votes against it will look bad for opposing a bill they misleadingly refer to as a ‘jobs bill.’ ”

AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka said “the 99 percent of our country who want jobs now should take note of how each and every senator voted today on the American Jobs Act. And we should ask each one who voted no – what is your plan? How would you put our country back to work and give hope to our nation’s families? Because the truth is the Republicans who unanimously blocked this courageous bill have no plan and seek to profit politically from the country’s pain. The common sense jobs bill should have brought together all senators of both parties to stem the tide of economic pain that is overwhelming working people.”

Obama’s Plan B is to break up his $447 billion jobs plan into several separate bills, likely setting up more showdowns with Republicans in Congress. He then outlined his intention to work with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and produce several smaller bills derived from the bigger plan.