January 22nd, 2010
03:02 PM ET
8 years ago

Senate Dems want to turn focus to jobs

(CNN) - Senate Democrats are preparing to unveil legislation in the next couple of weeks to address what they believe is the No. 1 issue this election year: jobs.

"Jobs, jobs, jobs," said Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus coming out of a Friday morning meeting to discuss the package.

Baucus would only say Democratic senators talked about a "series of initiatives" with the goal of helping to create jobs.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, also in the meeting, said he believes there should be a focus on infrastructure – especially school construction.

"This is ready to do," said Harkin, "if the money went out we could begin this summer on school construction, and it has a big multiplier effect."

When asked why the Democrats' $787 billion stimulus package didn't do that, he shot back that $16 billion for schools was dropped in final stimulus negotiations.

"The last stimulus bill did a darn good job," said Harkin," "but we can't now afford to let what we did to slide back again. We're got to have another big jobs bill to get people back to work."
It has been clear to Democrats for months that the bad economy spells trouble for many lawmakers up for re-election this year.

Until they lost their critical 60th Senate vote Tuesday, the Democrats' plan had been to finish health care in the next few weeks in order to turn most of their attention in 2010 to addressing high unemployment.

Both Harkin and Baucus insisted their push on a jobs bill does not mean they are dropping their efforts to salvage health care legislation.

"I think health care is really important. We will find a way to do health care, but we also have to do a jobs package. We can walk and chew gum at the same time," said Baucus.

Still, the reality is that Democrats are reeling from their Senate loss in Massachusetts, and are having serious trouble finding a way to keep health care legislation alive.

Harkin admitted Democrats need some time.

"The right thing now is for everybody to calm down a little bit," said Harkin.

Filed under: Economy • Senate
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Future expat

    You know, if they'd focused on jobs the GOP would be criticizing them for not having done anything about health care.

    You just can't win with bigots.

    January 22, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. Steph

    Cue insulting comments from our right wing friends...what do you have against job creation?

    January 22, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. Ms S Callahan

    All of 'a sudden' it's a crisis on the hill to provide 'stimulus' for jobs...in the meantime it's impossible to stop the spiral downturn for the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions , that are now in a fianancial hole without a paddle and boat. But go ahead....fool yourself into thinking your are appeasing the voters......we already have all of you marked for the next election. Hmmm perhaps this 'job stimulus' will assure you have a 'construction job' when your out? Curious....

    January 22, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. Wisconsonite

    Good! Let's start working together, Dems, Reps & Independants alike to get our country back on track! It's not JUST up to Congress and it's not JUST up to the President either . . . it's up to every single American to pull together and stop the back-biting! Fired Up!

    January 22, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Jobs can be created when Americans realize we don't know if the oil supply is running out which we are so dependent upon. President Obama has constantly spoke about we must become less dependent upon oil and focus on clean energy and alternative resources. Wakeup America, this President has told us over and over again while the forces of the Republican party continue to get oil rich.

    January 22, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. Alan

    Isn't it amazing what getting your _ _ S whooped in an election will do to get things rolling.

    Unemployment has been at 10% for months and all the Dems could talk aboutl was their health care reform bill.

    I bet that this jobs talk will last a whole two weeks at the most. The truth is they don't care about jobs, they care about their power and getting re-elected.

    January 22, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. gt

    da,,,,, its been over a year and your now just figuring this out ,,,,, .these senators are slow learners,,,,,they wasted months and months on health care why would we believe them now,,, loosers...

    January 22, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Been talking about the number one priority for months. Glad the Dems finally woke up. Whether they are actually capable of doing anything or not, remains to be seen.

    January 22, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. Beverly in NC

    AMEN. This is exactly what the Democrats need to implement as soon as possible. We need more Stimulus money to go to infrastructure projects like repairing schools, roads, crumbling bridges, and other important items we all depend upon each day. This will open up new jobs, not only for the direct workers, but also for the suppliers of the materials, the maker of the materials and so on. It brings back the proud tradition of "made in America". Any company hired for infrastructure work must be certified to use NO illegal aliens and pay within a certain pay structure so the workers can actually live on the wages.

    Democrats are the REBUILDERS and we will continue to restore this nation despite all the Republican hate, lies, and obstructionism. It's time we ignore these negative do-nothings who only want America to fail. Republicans are the Party of Wall St, the big banks who abuse us, the insurance industry who wants no reform and more abuse of us, and large corporations who send our jobs overseas and destroy lives of American workers.

    Democrats are THE Party of the People and have worked hard all year to bring us recovery legislation despite Republican political game playing with our lives.

    We need MORE Democrats to keep moving America forward.

    January 22, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. Unemployed

    So after a year of trillion dollar bailouts to everybody and his CEO brother, now the decide to work on jobs.

    For almost a year the dems could have cared less about the 27 million unemployed Americans. Since health care reform is going up in flames dems are now working on jobs, in order to keep theirs.

    January 22, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. NC

    Republicans will not let any legislation pass that democrats want that will help our country. The past year has proven that republicans do not care about us, they only want to win elections. They can not win elections if our President and Democrats in Congress do anything that will help us and our country. It means that republicans want the economy to worsen so they might win elections. Have A Blessed Weekend.

    January 22, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. CanUhearUSnow

    Gotta Love the fact that all of a sudden the Dem's have JOBS on the brain.It's to late though come Nov they wil be gone because JOBS didnt matter when they though they could cram H.C down our throat. CAN U HEAR US NOW........

    January 22, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. Show me the Money

    Great idea, but we're paying for it how?

    January 22, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. Four and The Door

    "The right thing now is for everybody to calm down a little bit," said Harkin.
    The right thing is for The Washington Democrat Political Machine to understand what Massachusetts voters was telling it. No more partisan special interest coddling ineffective llegislation. You now have to work with the Republicans. Rubber Stamp days are over. Now your legislation has to make sense for America and not just the Democratic politicians.

    January 22, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Steve-Illinois

    Hey Max, if you can walk and chew gum at the same time, why did you wait a year to start working on creating jobs? Was health care reform only going to pass if we remained in a crisis, and now that it's basically sunk, you need to get to creating jobs in order to keep YOUR jobs? Phoneys!!!!

    January 22, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. t22

    Gee, finally doing something about jobs. Only took a year.

    January 22, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    I sure both sides will love bashing each other over this, but the truth is there is no difference if you vote Democrat or Republican Liberal or Conservative. We will get the same we have always received from big brother, the people who can attract the billions required to be elected are not getting that money from the people. Both of these parties are bought and paid for by the Special interest groups, PACs, Unions, Wall Street, banking, global Corporations are all contributing billions to re-election funds that undermine the people's representation
    I say in 2010 ask who is funding your representative? Look to see where the money is coming from? If the money comes from outside your district then who do you think they will represent if they are elected or re-elected? We need to bring these professional politicians back into line.

    January 22, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    Yup, that what we need is another "stimulis" since the 1st one did such a great job! These dummycrats need to get a life, cause come November they'll be signing up for unemployment lkie the rest of us!

    January 22, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. It has begun

    OH really!!? It's been about jobs since you got elected & u just figured it out? This from a guy that is suppose to be so smart? Wow!!!

    If healthcare is so necessary/dire how come it will not go into effect until 2013? Magically after the next gen. election? Would u pay for car but could not drive it for 4yrs? Also if 30 million people are w/o healthcare right now and 45,000 people die every yr because of no healthcare, they why in 10 yrs this bill WILL NOT cover over 30 million?

    We need to get this idiot out of office!

    January 22, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. buckeye

    jobs, jobs, jobs. Talk is cheap. Where's the New Deal legislation? The CCC? The cut in the overbloated Pentagon budget? The end to wars without end abroad? The start of a War on Poverty at home, etc. Otherwise the jobs, jobs, jobs refrain is nothing but blah, blah, blah.

    January 22, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. CommonSense09

    I still believe the Democrats mean good for the American people but have to fight so hard with the Party of No to everything...all of a sudden, the GOP have all of the answers, why not 8 years ago??? But as soon as they lost power they have a plan....for who the richer because they have never cared about the average American....seriously! Until everyone starting doing bad and I do mean everyone...we all wanted "Change" and it's coming through our President!

    January 22, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Laura, Boston

    It's about time! It took a wake up call from my state to hopefully push the dems and the republicans to work together.

    If the POTUS is smart he will make an effort to work with the minority party and get some important things done. Get people working!!!

    January 22, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. steve b

    Thank you Scott Brown !

    Now, finally the White House and The Congress will focus on the single
    item that effects every American.

    With jobs people can purchase their own health care,
    huh... two problems, one stone

    January 22, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Illinoistom

    I don't think Dear Leader has gotten this memo. All he seems to be focused on is railing on Wall Street. If the Dems job creation strategy is more bailouts of failing state governments, and more quasi-Keynesian stimulus financed by our grandchildren, then we are in real trouble. A real world solution that has a proven record of working is across the board tax cuts with a CUT in government spending.

    January 22, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    Hey congress, I have a idea that you can go buy, if you read this board once in a while. Here is my idea for creating millions of jobs:
    To achieve a sustainable global economy, it is necessary that we:
    1. Develop an effective population-control strategy. This will, at least, require more education of people since literacy and population growth are inversly related.
    2. Completely restructure our energy programs. A sustainable global economy is probably impossible is it is based on use of fossil fuels. New energy plans will utilize the concept of an integrated energy policy, with more emphasis on renewable energy sources, solar and wind for example. Finally, conservation of energy must have a central place in our energy managment plans.
    3. Institute economic planning, including development of a tax structure that will encourage population control and wise use of resources. Financial aid for developing countries is absolutely necessary to narrow the gap between rich and poor nations.
    4. Implement social, legal, political, and educational changes that provide for maintenance of a quality local, regional, and global environment. This must be a serious commetment that all the people of the world will cooperate to achieve.
    Stating that we wish to develop a sustainable future acknowledges that our present practices are not sustainable.

    January 22, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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