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. Ancient Texan

    Beverly in NC @4.45- Only one teeny little mistake in your long narative, Delete Bush and the Republicans and insert Bill Clinton, Barney Frank, Janet Reno, Chris Dodd, Franklin Raines, and and Sen Barack Obama and you've put your finger on the true culprits for the financial debacle. Yes, bank regulations are needed.

    January 22, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. leftisloony

    BRILLIANT!....NOW the dems want to focus on jobs......after wasting over a year completing a 2000 page exercise in stupidity in an attempt to take over one seventh of the economy, now they're worried about jobs......excuse me while i hurl.........the economy has been in a slow death spiral hemorrhaging jobs, and career politicians/lawyers (dems), most of whom have never held real jobs and know jack about healthcare, have put together a pile of pork and nonsense costing trillions, and they wonder why they have low approval ratings........the private sector is needed to create jobs......obama denigrates the private sector every time he opens his mouth.........instead of promoting real job growth, obama wants to shovel money down the black hole that is GM and strengthen the unions and create "government" jobs.......check out NY, California, Illinois, NJ........states whose service and government employee unions are sucking their respective states dry..........HUGE legacy costs for retirement benefits for these states and dwindling revenues........it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that something's got to give and soon with these ticking DEBT bomb states...... good luck dems with your loser agenda.....we're all going to suffer.........have a nice day

    January 22, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Jon-In-Ca

    What??? What about the THOUSANDS of people dying every day??? I thought passing Healthcare was a national emergency???

    Ohhhhh – I see – that was just rhetoric designed to put fear into people... and when it didn't work – the dems now need a new campaign slogan.

    Jobs Jobs Jobs – Dems are all about (Govenment, Union-backed) Jobs!! Not those nasty "corporate" jobs, no we're going to tax the he!! out of corporations to pay for these new gubermint jobs.

    January 22, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Albert K. L.A., CA

    New jobs will not be seen untill Reaganomics is burried for good. Reaganomics claimed to get so called “big government” off of our backs by deregulating financial institutions and lowering taxes on the rich promising that would create jobs. Well, the only job created was for auctioneers to sell our homes to the rich who happen to have some extra cash on hand and Obama's job to fix the mess Reagon and Bush left behind. Obamanomics can only create jobs by first restoring trust (law) to our corrupt financial institutions and by getting big banks off of our backs.

    January 22, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. JackLa

    What happened to the Obama Jobs Summit from a month or so ago? His track record and his administration are pathetic when it comes to jobs.

    They spout nonsense about "saved or created jobs" when there is no way to count that

    Their stimulus package and "shovel ready jobs"...where are all the working people?

    This guy, as likable as he may be, is on his way to being a 1 term president.

    The people will ensure he gets a "change"

    What happened to working 24×7 to ensure the American people who want jobs, can get jobs, Mr President?

    January 22, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. chall

    Of all of the campaign promises that Obama has forgotten, the pledge to stimulate the economy and get Americans back to work with infrastructure projects was and still is the most promising. Forget about the trillion-dollar-big government takeover of the healthcare system–most Americans don't want it! (Just ask Scott Brown) Let's fix our roads, bridges, sewers, and dams! Those who have imbibed the liberal kool-aid will disagree, but this is every bit as important to the future of our country.

    January 22, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Sam Sixpack

    One by one, we realize the liars have been stealing the money that is supposed to be creating jobs. Now that we have reached critical mass, the liars will spend as little as absolutely possible on job creation. They now think if they talk nice we'll go back to sleep and they can go back to stealing the money. They're still greedy crooks. Why are the liars so sad? Because they just "lost" that 1/2 trillion dollars they were going to steal from your grandmother's medicare. The only thing worse than government lopsided with Republicans is government lopsided with Democrats.

    January 22, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    One point that has not been made is that in January 2009, the FIRST thing that President Obama did was to ask Congress to PASS the Stimulus Bill which would help to KICK START the ECONOMY.

    The Stimulus Bill which will help rebuild our infrastructure, etc.

    SO......... back a year ago, President Obama WAS & STILL IS concerned about JOBS.

    January 22, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Bob in Pa

    Why is SPEND, SPEND,SPEND associated to everything you do ?

    How about laying off some staff, eliminating or cutting wasteful projects, generally just saving us some money. Then open drilling up a little bit and ease other restrictions.

    Then stop interferring and the jobs will come.

    January 22, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. Jazzy

    Not only should there be discussions about jobs...but a continued fight for health care reform and stronger employee rights.

    January 22, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. Desert Rat

    Yes...good idea, they should focus on jobs....their next job that is. These out of touch buffoons wasted a year commiting political mal- practice with the " big healthcare crisis" they are intent on craming down the citizens throats.

    January 22, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Larry Mergen

    It was the policy of this nation for decades to outsource every possible job in the U.S. to China, India, Bangledesh, Pakistan, and Mexico. Just get rid of every job and factory at any cost. The goal was to prevent Americans from having a job. Now we want those jobs back? I don't think so!! Its too late, we are now a 3rd world nation.

    January 22, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. j

    globalization has failed. The earlier we face this big white elephant in the room the better (free trade). how can we keep stimulating the economy by borrowing from the chinese only just to put more money into peoples pockets so that they can spend it on chinese imports. Economist continue to support the status quo mainly because most have a full plate.

    January 22, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. James

    If the voters in Massachusetts wanted a jobs bill, wouldn't they have voted for Coakley? Seems to me that they wanted LESS government, not more.

    January 22, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. rob

    Hey Harkin I guess you mean if only the 16 billion for the schools was included last time we wouldn't be in this mess?????? More of the same from the Dems....keep spending and spending untill theres nothing left.
    The stimulus was a huge payout to the Unions in the State Gov't not to really stimulate jobs in the private sector.

    What a joke these Dems are.

    Nov. can't come fast enough.

    January 22, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. ib

    Well it took loses in Va.; NJ and now Mass. for the demo's to wake up as to what is really going on and the liberals are covering up and still blaming Bush and putting right wingers down.

    January 22, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. Jazzy

    It took more than a year to get in this mess and it will take more than a year to get out of this mess. Lot's of amnesia and/or denial out there.
    We know the real deal behind all the criticism.

    January 22, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. ConsDemo

    Contrary to what some posters are saying, a turn to protectionism IS THE LAST THING WE NEED. Please read up on the Smoot-Hawley tariff act, it turned a serious recession into the Great Depression.

    January 22, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  19. Mike

    Finally they got it; it's always about jobs / the ecomony first with naional security a close second. Too bad they had to waist a full year to finally figure this out. As for "Future expat" let us know if you need a ride to the airport, the French are waiting.

    January 22, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. RufusVonDufus

    I wonder what will be #1 on the Dem agenda when they realize they cannot get unemployment under control and cannot create any more jobs except for in the Office of Political Correctness under Napolitano in Homeland Security. Maybe it will be filling out unemployment papers for themselves in November! Hope so.

    January 22, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Marshall

    About time!

    January 22, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. Mike

    So the top issue is jobs huh? Wasn't it health care just this past Monday? What happened since then?
    Oh yeah, they lost the most Democratic Senate seat in the country to a Republican.
    So if they don't get the jobs thing going will they start focusing on the NEW #1 issue? Whatever that may be at that particular time.
    I'm so sick of this partisan garbage coming out of Washington. Where is our third party? We need it so desperately.
    The Repubs and Dems will never agree on anything.

    January 22, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. joe m

    the democratic leadership seems to think that americans are idiots. more and more of us will not be played any longer by their rhetoric and games. this shift to jobs is a distraction in the hopes that we soon forget how they wasted away an entire year. no more. democrats and republicans alike can no longer count of the fact that if they throw us some bread and put on a show they would have our support and loyalty. from this point forward we will expect result and if they are unable to deliver then we will use the power we own, our votes, to find someone else who will actually get things done for us.

    January 22, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. Andrew (PA)

    Is there a way to disband both the Congress and the Senate with a vote of “No Confidence”? Where else can you get a bunch of people together that do nothing, lie, cheat and still get paid… In any other Company, they would have been fired without benefits…

    January 22, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. Gerry NH

    I agree that Obama has been talking and talking and talking about jobs for a year. Nothing substantial came out of it. Getting a few thousand summer construction job is not getting people back to work. It will take action and none so far.

    Also look at the Community Reinvestment Act of 1999 with Barney Flunky in the moddle of it and the act was signed into law in early 2000 and the signature is William Clinton. I know it was Bushs fault.

    January 22, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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