Senate rejects two more pieces of Obama’s jobs plan

Chris Moody

The Senate defeated two more pieces of President Obama's economic stimulus bill late Thursday night, despite a lengthy and concerted White House campaign urging Congress to pass the legislation.

After failing to reach a consensus on the entire bill two weeks ago, Senate leaders opted for a piecemeal approach in an attempt to highlight parts of the bill that could garner bipartisan support.

The first measure, a $35-billion Democratic bill that would have increased federal spending for states to hire teachers and emergency first responders, was rejected by a united Republican conference, two Democrats--Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana--and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent. To pay for the new spending, the measure would impose a 0.5 percent tax increase on all income above $1 million. The marginal tax hike would have taken effect starting in 2013.

The bill required 60 votes to pass the chamber and sidestep the threat of a Republican filibuster, but only 50 senators voted for it.

In a statement released after the vote, Obama slammed Republicans for voting to block the proposal.

"For the second time in two weeks, every single Republican in the United States Senate has chosen to obstruct a bill that would create jobs and get our economy going again.  That's unacceptable," Obama said.

The second bill, a proposal from Republicans that grew out of Obama's jobs plan, would have eliminated a 3 percent withholding tax on federal contractors, also failed. The measure did, however, receive more bipartisan support than the spending bill did. Ten Democrats crossed party lines to support the legislation, but it fell short by three votes.

The White House did not release a statement on that vote, but Obama has vowed to continue to press Congress for more votes on his proposal.

"Our fight isn't over," Obama said. "We will keep working with Congress to bring up the American Jobs Act piece by piece, and give Republicans another chance to put country before party and help us put the American people back to work."

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