Washington (CNN) – Senate Republicans successfully blocked a bill from coming to the Senate floor Tuesday that Democrats claim would help keep American jobs from going overseas.
Republicans call it nothing more than a pre-election political ploy.
The Democratic bill would have ended certain tax breaks for companies expanding overseas while giving new tax incentives to businesses bringing jobs home.
Democratic sources tell CNN they knew all along this measure would not make it very far. That was beside the point.
The point, Democratic strategists candidly admit, was to use the last few days of the congressional session before the election to try to highlight one of the few jobs-related issues Democrats feel they may be able to use against Republicans: outsourcing.
"No question people are angry at Democrats because the economy is bad and we are in charge," Democratic pollster Mark Mellman said.
"People are even more angry about jobs going overseas than they are about the absence of jobs as they look around their communities. So we're trying to focus that anger."
Mellman has done polling on outsourcing, and advised congressional Democrats to push it as political issue, calling it one of the most "potent" issues Democrats have to work with.
"It's a bright line. It's not enough to change the whole political climate. (But) is it enough win some seats somewhere? I think the answer is yes," he said.
Democrats across the country have already been hammering Republicans for sending jobs overseas - both on the campaign trail and in television ads.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D- California, is airing an ad against her opponent, former Hewlett-Packard Chief Carly Fiorina, saying she "shipped jobs to China while Californians lost their jobs."
In Ohio, Democratic Senate candidate Lee Fisher ran ad against former congressman and U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, saying, "Congressman Portman knows how to grow the economy - in China. He voted for millions in tax breaks that exported jobs."
Rep. Paul Kanjorksi, D-Pennsylvania, claims in one of his ads to be "on the side of working families" while his opponent "favors tax breaks that ship jobs overseas."
Those are just a few examples of many similar advertisements and arguments Democratic candidates are using against GOP opponents.
Democratic congressional aides say they hope by trying to force this vote in the Senate, and a series of similar measures in the House, it will give them even more ammunition for that message.
Republicans say they disagree that these measures will keep jobs in America and are lashing out at Democrats for holding last minute political votes.
"Now, in the last three days of the session they decided they can pretend to be concerned. This is nothing short of patronizing," argued Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
"This is about as pure a political exercise as you can get. And in my view it is an insult to the millions of Americans who want us to focus on jobs."
Are Democrats concerned that pushing such transparently politically votes just before the election could backfire?
Mellman, the Democratic pollster, says they shouldn't be.
"I don't think anyone is shocked about politics going on in the Congress of the United States," he said.
"Democrats are trying to bring [this issue] to a head. Republicans can vote for this and the issue would be gone."