As expected, proponents of the American Jobs Act (S. 1660) failed to garner the 60 Senate votes needed to proceed with further consideration of the jobs legislation. Democratic senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Jon Tester (D-MT) joined 46 Republican senators in voting against further consideration of the measure Tuesday evening. Fifty Democratic senators voted in favor of proceeding, ten votes shy of the number needed to prevent a filibuster.
Among other provisions affecting employers, the American Jobs Act would prohibit unemployment discrimination; temporarily ease payroll taxes for employers; provide incentives for hiring veterans and long-term unemployed workers; encourage employers to develop temporary work sharing positions in lieu of layoffs; extend emergency unemployment compensation; extend 100 percent business expensing of investments in certain business assets through 2012; mandate that all laborers and mechanics employed by contractors and subcontractors on projects funded directly by the bill be paid the prevailing wage rate; provide additional funding for transportation infrastructure projects; and require that all projects funded by the bill use American-produced iron, steel, and manufactured goods. The bill would be financed by a $5.6 surtax on millionaires, a change from the initial bill aimed at increasing Democratic support.
Even if this bill had been allowed to progress in the Senate, it would have faced tough opposition in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. The Obama Administration has stated that it would be amenable to splitting the measure into smaller bills that would have a greater likelihood of passage. At this point, it is uncertain which provisions of the bill, if any, would receive support as standalone legislation.