January 22nd, 2010
03:02 PM ET
4 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. Ms S Callahan

    The way things are going...there won't be any money for jobs...hasn't anyone noticed the stocks? Downward trend...not stable..not in this country or any country.....
    I told you so six months ago, I tell you again......Unless this country turns back to God there is no 'real' upward trend......laugh if you will.....but it really is not funny. It's not a panic, it's a fact.

    January 22, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Nancy

    Of course, they should focus on jobs. The more people who are working, the more people who have health care.

    January 22, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    JOBS can't be legislated. Americans are being lied to by the far-right who want to take the focus off healthcare on behalf of Big Insurance and Big Pharma!

    Fact is: 99% of Americans are one medical crisis away from bankruptcy.

    BTW back in 1983 when Ronald Reagan was president we ALSO had ........ 10%......... unemployment. It takes time for recovery, the economy is not fast food.

    January 22, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. Jay1975

    The Dems made the mistake thinking that since the country was against Bush, that we were all for liberalism. Far from the truth. Rather than the fabled "social justice", we just want a chance at a good life. That starts with the ability to work. If you cannot work today, how can you work for a better tomorrow? That is a concept that the average liberal could never understand. They feel that it is the governments job to provide...so long as there is someone to first take from.

    January 22, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Jon

    The jobs that have been lost ARE NEVER COMING BACK. The people who are out of work now are in a world of hurt! I sure wouldn't want to be one of them, and perhaps be over 50, and perhaps have a minimal, say high school or a couple of years of college, education, etc. "Lots of luck Charley", as they say. A lot of this has been brought on by our glorious elected officials and their special interest groups. We actually might have been in better shape without them.

    January 22, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. gary in OK

    It doesn't matter what issue is at the forefront as nothing will be done by members of congress. They have only two interests, passing their pay raise each year and getting re-elected so they will not have to leave and get a real job where they might have to do some work instead of just sitting around and running their mouths.

    Also, just who is in charge of creating these inquirys where they sit around for days, asking mindless questions of people who refuse to give them answers – i.e. gate crasher congressional hearing - A TOTAL WASTE OF TIME AND TAX PAYERS DOLLARS

    January 22, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. Beverly in NC

    I think the huge drop in bank stocks today is GREAT news. It means the era of bank arrogance, abuse, and ridiculous risk-tasking for personal wealth is OVER, The banks and Wall St are now going to feel the pain they have caused the taxpayers who bailed them out.
    Re-regulating the banks and breaking banks and investment firms apart is the best way to ensure th future stability of our economy. We need Glass-Stegall reinstated and all former bank regulations reinstated.

    This is a majorly important move to help the People and the small businesses who need credit the banks promised but never gave out.

    Stablizing the banks ensures we can move forward to rebuilding our economy. To all you screaming about govt control, you obviously know nothing about the banking system. It was created by the government and has been regulated by the government from the beginning. Only when Bush and his stupid Republicans removed all regulation did our economy go off the cliff and led to the total mess President Obama has been cleaning up.

    Bring back Glass-Stegall and all the former regulations banks have always been subject to before Bush.

    It's time to step up and protect the taxpayers. It's OUR money the banks are playing around with. Do you think your money is sitting in some vault? It's what is being used in these risky mortgages, derivatives, and shaky investments. We the taxpayer gave them more money to save their butts and the FDIC stepped in to protect our individual accounts.

    Never again – bring back bank regulations! If their stock is going down then that means the PEOPLE are winning against them!

    January 22, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. It has begun

    "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. "

    NC, did the democrats care about us when they ignored our cries to focus on jobs and not this stupid Healthcare monstrosity? Did the democrats care about us when unemployment kept going up, and people were loosing their homes etc and they continued to ignore the people that wanted jobs? Did the democrats care when we were outrage at the back room deals and the buy out of votes for a HC bill that the majority of the country rejected? Did the Dems care about us when it took Obama 3 days to respond to the Xmas day bomber and gave shout outs on the day of the Ft. Hood massacre? Did they care at all? Did the Democrats care about you when they went in bed with unions and excluded them fr tax increase that will affect every private citizen.

    Seems to me the Dems only care when they need your votes!

    Se

    January 22, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. db

    By scaring the hell out of Wall street and crashing the stock market. Smart, very smart.

    January 22, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. single mom

    Maybe they should have focused on jobs twelve months ago to ensure they have their current ones twelve months from now!

    January 22, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. DF

    Dems should not panic. There is no need to over react just because Brown won in Mass. So what Demsstill have a majority and lots of time.

    January 22, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. grrace

    When Dems roll out the jobs legislation, Republicans who have been whining about it will not vote for it. They'll call it a "government take over of jobs" while the slip on their own drool. Choking out the words, "what we need are tax cuts..." drool. slip, slurp.

    January 22, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. single mom

    Beverly in NC – quick fact for you – it was Clinton's Attorney General, Janet Reno, who threatened banks with federal action if they did not increase the number of mortgages to lower-income applicants even if they were terrible credit risks. I worked at a bank in the mid to late 90s and watched it happen.

    Why aren't the Dems – Rangel, Dodd, etc, – being blamed for refusing to listen to McCain and Bush three years ago regarding Fannie and Freddie? Obama was one of the Senators who said those two loaners were stable and in excellent shape.

    January 22, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. Jimmy James

    So this job problem must have just started. They ignored it last year and accomplished nothing.

    January 22, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. jane

    Took a rookie senator to make a bunch of old hacks figure out they are taking the country in the wrong direction. Now worried about getting reelected they want to focus on what the American People want. The President has done an about face as well looking to repair his and the democrats reputation to look good and have a more favorable appeal for his reelection. These "politicians" make me sick all they think about is what they think we need till they worry about their own skins and job. Vote them all out– Republicans and Democrats that have been sitting on their cans for 10-30 years doing nothing while collecting a paycheck. And stop using the previous president and each other (party wise) as an excuse for not getting things done or one hindering another. We are tired of the excuses, blame game, and rhetoric. Get off your butts and turn things around. While we are at it we can cut costs by reducing your COLA and putting you in the dorms at Bolling AFB, DC. That should save a few $$.

    January 22, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Observant

    About time!!

    January 22, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    President Obama has been talking about jobs all along. You republicants just won't admit it.

    Google PNAC and read - that's why this country is mad at the incumbents. Not just democrat seat holders, but republican too.

    Wait and see. (You should be getting your talking points about that soon).

    January 22, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. stevegee

    Seems to me they've already been focused on jobs - losing them by the millions through anti-capitalist policies and business-spooking propaganda.

    January 22, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Steve (the real one)

    Jobs should have been the priority all along. Some have stated republicans will not help the democrats pass any thing they want that will help America. Please explain that. I have seen the unions get exempted from paying taxes on "Caddy" healthcare benefits. I have seen Senators from Louisiana and Nebraska get paid off for their votes! Exactly how is THAT helping America? If jobs were the priority, perhaps the dems might have won in New Jersey, Virginia, and in Massachusetts!

    January 22, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. J.P.

    The best way to create jobs is to stop killing them.

    Stop scaring the bahjesus out of the job creators. Only a fool would hire a new person right now with all the uncertainty the government is creating.

    I've never worked for a poor man.
    I've never been hired by a poor man.
    A poor man has never signed my pay check.
    How about you?

    Businesses will come out of "hunker down" mode and start creating jobs again, beginning January 2011 when the new House and Senate leadership takes office. You can bank on that.

    Then, hopefully, we'll have beaten back the immortal beast of socialism for another generation... hopefully. Until then, enjoy that "hopenchange" in the unemployment line, kids.

    January 22, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Grundoon

    When Obama wanted to use TARP return money for job creation Boner have such a freakin' petulent frenzy!!! The GOP will never stop their inceassant whining!!!

    January 22, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. It has begun

    I'm so tired of the "Pary of NO" crap. People it is getting old. Seems to me the Dems were the Party of NO for the previous admin. I guess what goes around comes around.

    The only difference is the Republicans were not whining about it like a bunch of girly-mons!!

    January 22, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. Ryan

    Unreal. At this point, I wish both parties would just STOP doing trying to do anything! Anything they do is so politically charged and ideologically driven that its doomed to failure their its own flawed design.

    1) Can we finally admit that the stimulus bill failed?

    2) Can we finally admit that Obama and the democrats were too busy playing partisan politics than doing what they were elected to do (govern the country....WITH republican input)?

    3) Can we finally admit that the only thing that has grown in the jobs sector of this country has been government jobs that are unsustainable and will be eliminated within the next 12 months?

    4) To build schools? Districts all across the country are trying to scrape up funds to mend state budgets so that they can at least FUND their current education programs. If we build more schools, who's going to pay for the maintannence of these buildings? The local districts? The states? THEY HAVE NO MONEY TO DO THIS!!!

    The government needs to just stop what its doing. Stop all of its stimulus programs, stop all of its reforms, and just let the economy naturally recover. The recession will never end with the government trying to micro-manage every aspect of it.

    January 22, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  24. JOHN

    The dems are doing the best they can do at this time . We as Amercians needs to suck it up. I know its hard out there but this recessions is here to stay for a long time so suck it up.

    January 22, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. Shmeckell

    The stimulus was expensive, very expensive. The democrats may have a tough time convincing the American people to do it again by themselves without creating political suicide. I have a feeling we are about to embark on some good (or bad) old fashion bipartisan type governing. Obama might fulfill a campaign promise on accident.

    A lot of people hate tax cuts, but the only times I remember it being done it seemed like the recession did not last long afterwards. Obama might also want to keep his lips a little tighter about taxing the heck out of every profit making company until the recession is over; every democratic leader will agree you don’t raise or threaten to raise taxes in poor economic times (check out the stock market this week).

    January 22, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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