January 22nd, 2010
03:02 PM ET
10 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. #7 on the Bristol Chart

    ib January 22nd, 2010 5:16 pm ET

    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.

    Just giving credit where credit is due.....

    January 22, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. Scott

    Stop criticizing, people. Infrastructure and specifically schools is needed very badly. Schools are more overcrowded than prisons.

    January 22, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. grrace

    Hey Republicans, do us all a favor, vote FOR the jobs bill. FOR the jobs bill...

    January 22, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. Larry

    Obama is still focussed on Obama.
    Nothing has changed.

    January 22, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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