February 5th, 2010
08:47 AM ET
8 years ago

Jobs at issue as Pelosi prepares to rally nervous Democrats

Pelosi is seeking to calm nervous Dems.

Pelosi is seeking to calm nervous Dems.

Washington (CNN) - Job growth is expected to take center stage Friday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addresses the increasingly anxious leadership of her party at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting.

Pelosi's remarks will coincide with the release of the Labor Department's January employment report. President Barack Obama will stress the need for small business job growth later in the day at a separate event in Maryland.

While the president claimed credit Thursday night for breaking "the back of the recession," the jobless rate has remained high at 10 percent.

Politically, Pelosi and Obama find themselves in an uncomfortable position as their party's centrist and liberal wings are at odds over the best way for Democrats to recover from a string of recent election losses.

Moderates facing tough challenges in the looming midterm elections are stressing issues such as the need to reduce spiraling deficits. Progressives warn that a failure to more aggressively pursue issues such as health care reform will depress turnout this November from an already deflated and angry political base.

In Congress, Democrats remain divided over how to proceed in the wake of Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown's upset victory in the race for Ted Kennedy's seat, which stripped Democrats of their 60-seat Senate supermajority. Brown's win gave Senate Republicans the power to block most legislative initiatives.

For the near term, however, most senior Democrats appear to be in agreement on the need to stress job growth. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Thursday that he could call for a vote on a new job stimulus bill as soon as Monday.

He indicated he'd like to see congressional approval of a measure before lawmakers recess for the President's Day holiday next Friday.

With the balance of power changed in the Senate, Democrats have moved away from introducing a comprehensive bill similar to the $154 billion legislation passed by the House in December. Instead, they will likely push through smaller measures in stages.

Reid said he's hoping for bipartisan cooperation, but is prepared to proceed solely with Democratic support. Republicans, however, said they have not been asked to the table.

"This is a bill the Democrats are writing without input from Republicans," a GOP aide said. "If Democrats wanted a bipartisan bill, they would invite Republicans in to help write it."

The Democrats' agenda includes: Renewing existing highway legislation for a year, which is expected to result in one million jobs, Reid said. Also, enacting small business and job creation tax credits. And extending Build America Bonds, a stimulus measure that helps states and municipalities fund capital construction projects.

The president's fiscal 2011 budget, unveiled Monday, would direct $50 billion to job creation measures, including clean energy initiatives and road projects.

"Infrastructure is where the jobs are, and we need to move in that direction rapidly," Reid said.

Top Democrats would also like to enact the president's Cash for Caulkers proposal, which would subsidize making homes and buildings more energy efficient.

The first job creation bill of the new year was unveiled on Wednesday. The measure, promoted by Sens. Charles Schumer, D-New York, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would absolve any private-sector employer who hires a worker who's beenunemployed for at least 60 days of paying the 6.2 percent share of the employee's Social Security payroll tax for the rest of 2010.

Also, employers who keep these workers on the payroll continuously for a year would be eligible for a $1,000 tax credit on their 2011 tax returns.

Democrats' other measures, however, aren't likely to get as warm a reception from the GOP. Already, several Republican senators have come out against using TARP bank bailout funds to jumpstart lending to small businesses and raising taxes on the wealthy.

Since Obama outlined his job creation push in his State of the Union speech last week, he has traveled up and down the East Coast promoting his small business initiatives. These include jumpstarting small business lending by giving $30 billion in TARP funds to banks and providing these firms with a $5,000 tax credit for each addition to their payrolls.

–CNN's Tami Luhby and Alan Silverleib contributed to this report

Filed under: Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Wilhemena March

    The democrats are so nervous? Why don't they just oust her as their leader?

    February 5, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. WeThePeopleofVirginia

    The Democrats should be nervous because this economy is theirs. They can blame the Bush Administration all they want. The American electorate is not buying into this excuse any longer. Both Parties better start working together to solve these problems and stop the blame game.

    February 5, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  3. Carolyn Barnard

    I am totally discouraged by the infighting that continues to occur with our government body. the two party system is a great system, if each party discontinued placing their energy on getting re-elected, which party have the upmanship on the other and instead really focused on performing in the best interest of America more postive things could occur.



    February 5, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Talking to a friend of mine who just had to close his restaurant this week and laid off 15 people. He said the trouble began when the minimum wage went up. Remember, that was one of the Dem's first acts when they took over Congress. Then this morning, I saw a story that said the recession did not start until the first quarter of 2007, and it hit me, thats when the Dems took over Congress and passed the minimum wage. I wonder why they are blaming the recession on Bush? I think someone, maybe a good news organization, like Fox, should look in to this.

    February 5, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. katiec

    Am so disgusted and sick of CNN's constant negitivity when headlining anything concerning the Democratic party.
    Wish you would admit your bias and relationship for the right and
    not try to pursuade the people you are a trustful, honorable representative of the news. At least Fox does not try to hide
    behind so called truth and lets people know where they stand.
    Between sensationalizing and your far right agenda, it is no wonder you are losing your viewers and popularity.

    February 5, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  6. RTB

    Wake up democrats!

    Why is the notion of loss of The Democratic Supermajority being used?

    There never was a supermajority. Lieberman ran against the Democrats in Conn. He campaigned with and supported the Republican for Pres. He is from the home base of the Insurance Industry.

    Are the democrats so naive to think they had him in their "Supermajority Corner"?

    February 5, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  7. malia

    I guess jobs were not important last year, right?

    February 5, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  8. Dave

    I am glad to see Pelosi and Reid taking charge. The more they are visible the worst for the Dems. Since, they are so left winged; that means they are so intelligent. But, they sure come off as being stupid.

    February 5, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  9. Dave

    VOTE THEM OUT and make her lose her job as Speaker!

    This woman is the worse thing to happen in politics since Carter

    February 5, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  10. Donna Coble

    BUY AMERICAN, employ your family, friends and fellow Americans.
    That is the only thing that will put Americans back to work. Have a yard sale, clean out your closets and storage units. Stop buying imports.
    It is time for Americans to take care of America.
    Are you part of the problem? or the solution?

    February 5, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. found work without help of stimulus or obama

    more lies from the Obama Administration. Unemployment did not drop, it grew, look at the jobs market, look at the businesses that closed, look at the unemployment claims. If you believe the Obama government you are as gulible and slow as a snail. Obama and his group will lie to get their agenda passed. It is time for all Americans to revolt against Obama and his pack of Liers and take back our country. These idiots works for us and they need to be fired. All Lies from Obama, Pelosi and Reid. They must go. Impeach Obama and fire the rest.

    February 5, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. Four and The Door

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Thursday that he could call for a vote on a new job stimulus bill as soon as Monday.
    The Democrats are trying to prove beyond a doubt that they don't know how to create private sector jobs?!?! With these guys, when Plan A fails miserably, they are ready to come back in with...more of Plan A?

    February 5, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  13. Eric, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    What a disaster Pelosi, Reid and Obama have been.

    Obama is just not qualified to be President.

    Pelosi and Reid are not leaders that are looking out for the American. They have had control of the House and Senate since 2004 and have NOT done ANYTHING positive.

    February 5, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. Gale

    If she can calm nervous Dems, we are in a whole lot worse shape than even I thought!!!!!

    February 5, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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