On Tuesday, October 11, Senate Democrats were unable to overcome a Republican filibuster as the motion to move President Obama’s American Jobs Act lost on a 50-49 vote (since this was a vote to invoke cloture, 60 votes were necessary). In light of this defeat, which had been expected, Democratic leaders in the Senate are weighing options for moving a jobs package forward. Senate leaders now appear likely to consider elements of the $447 billion measure (S 1660) separately and to force politically difficult votes for Republicans on such issues as rebuilding schools and granting payroll tax cuts to both workers and small companies.
Publicly, at least, GOP leaders appeared to welcome the new Democratic strategy, arguing that it was the approach that they supported all along. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), stated on Tuesday that it was time to put aside “political games” and “find areas of commonality.” He also said the House would seek to move smaller pieces of the proposal.
Among the largest stumbling blocks to the President’s proposal are tax provisions associated with the package. Senate Democrats are pushing a 5.6 percent surtax on household income above $1 million as a way of paying for the plan, but this proposal has met uniform opposition by GOP members in both the House and Senate. Should Senate Democrats continue to pursue this course, it will almost certainly find near unanimous GOP opposition (along with some Democrat opposition) in both chambers.