February 18th, 2010
07:25 PM ET
13 years ago

What's up with the jobs bill?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/18/art.reid.file.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Harry Reid yanked his support for a bipartisan jobs proposal that a number of Republicans said they would support."](CNN) A new CNN poll shows 84 percent of Americans believe Congress is not doing enough to tackle the nation's jobs problem.

This won't come as welcome news to them. When the Senate returns next week lawmakers will vote on a dramatically pared down jobs bill. Even in its diminished form – and despite enormous public pressure for Washington to act – that jobs bill may not pass.
Democrats said they are looking for the 60th vote to get it through the chamber.

What happened?

Last Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, yanked his support for a bipartisan jobs proposal that a number of Republicans said they would support.

There were a variety reasons Reid made this decision. But multiple Democratic sources told CNN a key factor was a meeting Wednesday night between Reid and Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. These sources said McConnell would not agree to bring the bipartisan jobs bill to the floor quickly and Reid became concerned the Republican leader would drag out the process and the bill would ultimately fail.

"The caucus was tired of one or two Republicans supporting something so they can say they are working with Democrats, while McConnell and the other Republicans dump all over us," one Democratic source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said of Democratic senators.
That's a reference to the extended, but fruitless negotiations over health care reform.

It is apparent McConnell and Reid had very different timetables for the jobs bill. Reid wanted it passed before the Senate went on break last week. McConnell told CNN last week he thought it would "take a few weeks" and he added that "we're not quite ready to go forward."

So is this a case of Republicans publicly calling for a jobs bill, but privately working to derail it?
Absolutely not said those close to McConnell.

Neither Reid's nor McConnell's offices would offer comment about the private conversation.

Republican Senate aides insist Democrats did not need McConnell’s support to pass the bill, because other Republicans including Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Orrin Hatch of Utah were publicly supporting the bill and GOP Whip John Kyl said that while did didn’t support all parts of the bill, “it contains elements that are important to all of the people in the Senate.” Speaking at a news conference, Kyl also said, “I assume, within fairly short order, it will be adopted.”

"Surely he knew there was significant Republican support," one Republican Senate aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said of Reid.

Does that sound like the kind of gridlock that has made Americans so angry at Congress?
There's more.

Reid has decided to dramatically scale back the bill by putting together a new version with four jobs growth measures for the Monday vote. Democrats are gambling that will be a political win for them, forcing Republicans to decide whether it's politically wise to vote against a popular job growth initiative.

Republicans are furious and have accused Reid of undermining progress on bipartisanship. None has committed to vote for the bill. Hatch, who co-sponsored one of the items in the scaled back jobs bill, plans to vote against it.

The Utah senator accused Reid of displaying "a tremendous arrogance of power" by yanking the bipartisan version of the bill.

In a conference call with reporters, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said Democratic leaders are speaking to a number of Republicans who have expressed interest in possibly supporting the new jobs measure on Monday. Reid's office confirmed that Sen. Scott Brown, who won last month's special election in Massachusetts to serve the remaining three years of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's term, is one of them.

Filed under: Congress • Jobs
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Victim of Republican Taliban

    McConnell and his fascist cronies only care about scoring political points on Fox Lies while the American people suffer and the work of Congress grinds to a halt.

    February 18, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  2. We the People....

    Get these American manufacturers back into our own coutnry and put our people back to work. I am sooooo tired of walking into stores and everything in there is made in china. I am not here to support china, I am here to support the United States of America.

    Bring these jobs home, start taxing these companies that are taking their business elsewhere!!!!!

    February 18, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  3. SCOTO

    Yep, count me in the 84%. In the much vaunted initaitive a few weeks ago where Obama was callIng on businesses to offer suggestions for job creation, I (as a succesful small biz entrepreneur) offered to go to Washington and attend at my own expense etc. etc.
    What was the reply? Not even a response. Nothing. Who attended it? A bunch of the "usual suspects"
    Stuffed suits and union leaders. What did it produce? NUTHIN.
    I voted for Obama but he is doing nothing to change things. Just talking. The same idiots are still running our banking system and scheming up new ponzi schemes on Wall Street to fleece us. They are getting bailed out by their friends in Washington who come from the same cesspool and ordinary WE THE PEOPLE are getting screwed. No Jobs, losing our homes, getting sick with no assistance.
    We need a complete gutting of Washington to put things right in this country.

    February 18, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Linda in Carolina

    The situation in this country is not a joking matter. For the CPAC members to use this forum as an afront to attack the administration is in my opinion appalling.

    For the people of congress to think that their lack of support for the American people says a whole lot about them. I just want to know, what are you all going to do for us. We are all Americans, and we are all in this together. I am so tired of the bickering. What about doing what you were elected to do, which is to try find solutions to the problems that we all face. I'm so glad that I can think for myself and not be swayed by you people who seem to not have a clue about what the average American is in need of. We all need healthcare, jobs with decent wages, not to be taken advantage of by big business and corporate greed. What are you all going to do for us. I don't care what party you're affiliated with, you all need a wake up call!

    February 18, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. terry,va.

    Dirty Harry is a duster. Anyone that gets within 30 feet of him is too. When the country has been clambering for jobs, this fool, Pelosi and Obuumie has tried to push stupid stuff like socialized medicine and cap and trade. Then when he gets Repub support on a jobs bill that actually has a chance to create some jobs he changes the bill. What idiots the Dumbocraps are!!!! Obummie, one and done.

    February 18, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. BB

    Don't pare it down. Bring it back to it's original form.
    Reconciliation 50 + Biden.
    Get it done and pass the right kind of bill.
    Quit trying to play with the Circus Elephants, it's not doing anyone a bit of good.

    February 18, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  7. Four and The Door

    As a Senate Majority Leader, Reid does not act like a guy who knows how to get things done unless it's being pushed by Democratic Special Interest Groups.

    We need a congress that works for the American people to get things done. The rest of us. Those of us without lobbyists in Washington. That's what we will be looking for in November.

    February 18, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  8. annie against biased news

    The only failures here are the chicago mafia administration and their leader and the ungodly combination of stinking harry and the pukelosi thing. You want to create jobs? Cut taxes you bunch of fools and stop the ridiculous spending!

    February 18, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  9. Mr Independent

    Please stop trying to make this seem like the Govt can do anything in an "active sense" just passively get out of the way of business and especially small business, no onerous taxes or public giveaways of OTM. Just a tax break and scram, go do something productive, start a garden or scrape the global warming off the driveway. Just quit trying to fix everything you only screw it up worse, it's in your DNA.

    February 18, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  10. SocialismBad

    Harry Reid is a bumbling idiot that can't get ANYBODY to do ANYTHING. Even when he has a done deal, HE kills it AND THEN BLAMES OTHERS! Who in their right mind would deal with such a devious person? This fool MUST be voted out in November. He's a disgrace to this country.

    February 18, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. Jimmy James

    So Harry Reid yanks his support of the bipartisan bill. Now are we going to blame the party of no for this too?

    February 18, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. Albo58

    Just more money flushed down the drain with absolutely no well thought out plan behind it!

    February 18, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. Diane Portland OR

    Also, one reason it might have failed is K Street tax cuts the republicans insisted on. They are meeting with K Street today to figure out how to make sure those tax cuts for the rich are in!!

    February 18, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. lola

    Someone needs to tell Dick Cheney that he is so over. "You're OUT Dick, so get a life.

    February 18, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  15. Brian from NJ

    OMG, more finger pointing! Both leaders! I have a 12 yr old that can resolve his differences with others better these two dopes...

    I think it is time we vote out ALL incumbents in November... they obviously do not think they work for us, so it is time we fired them! ALL of them!

    February 18, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  16. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    So Reid scrapped a bill the had bipartisan support because he was afraid some Republicans would dump on him. I'm sure that's consolation to those out of work it would have helped. Reid must and will go in November.

    February 18, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  17. Nevada dude

    What in the world is wrong with Harry Reid??? if McConnell is the problem, then expose the issue to the public so that the pressure falls on GOP obstructionim, NOT Democratic inability.

    I swear its as if Reid has not learned how to outmuscle the opposition in the 30 years he's been in congress.

    I dont want to hear it that the repubs wont budge, that it's hard. I WANT ACTION, AND IF REID CANT DO THE JOB, WE WILL VOTE IN SOMEONE WHO CAN.

    February 18, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  18. Right Leaning Independent

    Everything has to happen fast with the Dems rather than discussing the bill to see if it the best it can be! Reid is following Obama's lead with his arrogance! And for those that can not read, several Repubs were on board!!! The bill would have passed unless there are several Dems planning to vote against it!

    February 18, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  19. J.Williams san diego

    Hey Harry, make sure you save a job for you and your lobbyist sons and son-in-law.

    February 18, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  20. Stop the Nonsense

    What???? If Reid stated he would not support the bipartisan bill, why wasn't he pushed for his reason. Your assumption makes no sense.

    84% Americans saying the government is not doing enough is a joke!
    where are all those Republicans and TeaPartiers that say the government is too involved in our lives. The original jobs bill has been scaled back due to the outcry of the country and the calls for less spending by Republicans. Then of course there is the question- other than infrastructure programs, like the New Deal, what can the government do?

    Make up your minds people- do you want the government's involvement or not. You can't have it both ways
    "My fellow Americans" – you are fickle!

    February 18, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  21. Brandon

    The Tea Party = Jim Crow Law Party = GOP, are stalling against the jobs bill.

    February 18, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  22. m smith

    off course they will drag their feet and the bill will fail. That is the sole perpous of the repo party. NO No No They would rather see the country fail than allow this president to succeed. How sad. No since the election have we seen any repo come out in any meaning full support for this president or any bill he has proposed. Yet they have no new ideas and no plan to help the American public.

    February 18, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  23. Kate in SW Fla

    McConnell was plotting something and Reid has called him on it. He is so political, he would put every person in this country out of work, just to score political points.
    For Republicans to even pretend ther has been one iota of bipartisanship is bunk, pure and simple. Just like with the Commission THEY SPONSORED, then voted against. They make me sick.

    February 18, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  24. Total BS

    Get it done Harry or your out !!!!

    February 18, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  25. Bill in VT

    LOL. "Jobs bill"? What was the other 800,000,000,000 dollars for?

    February 18, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
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