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  1. US Senate defeats Obama’s jobs bill

    October 11, 2011 — WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Senate killed President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs package Tuesday, and the White House and congressional leaders were already moving on to other ways to cut the nation’s painfully high unemployment rate.

    The plan would have combined payroll tax cuts for workers and businesses with $175 billion in spending on roads, school repairs and other infrastructure, as well as unemployment assistance and help to local governments to avoid layoffs of teachers, firefighters and police.

    Forty-six Republicans joined with two Democrats to stall the vote on the plan. The roll call was kept open to allow Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to vote, but it would have taken 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to keep the legislation alive.

    Both parties were sure to wield the vote as a political weapon ahead of next year’s presidential election, with Democrats accusing the Republicans of failing to approve a measure to ease high unemployment and Republicans accusing Obama’s party of trying to raise taxes that would kill jobs.

    Obama said Republicans will “have a hard time explaining why they voted no on this bill — other than the fact that I proposed it.” The bill, despite Obama’s exhortations, had not been expected to get a single Republican vote, despite Obama’s weekslong effort to drum up support for a measure he said would reduce the jobless rate from its current 9.1 percent. Democratic defections ensured the measure would fail to win a simple majority, much less the 60 votes needed to overcome Republican stalling tactics.

    Anticipating defeat, Obama promised to try again in smaller bites. “If they don’t pass the whole package we’re going to break it up into constituent parts” and try to push them through separately, he told members of his jobs council.

    Obama says the plan — more than half the size of his 2009 economic stimulus measure — would be an insurance policy against a double-dip recession and that continued economic intervention is essential given slower-than-hoped job growth.

    Unlike the 2009 legislation, the jobs plan would have been be paid for with a 5.6 percent surcharge on income exceeding $1 million that would have raised about $450 billion over the coming decade. “Democrats’ sole proposal is to keep doing what hasn’t worked — along with a massive tax hike that we know won’t create jobs,” Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said before the vote. He said there are 1.5 million fewer jobs than when Obama’s 2009 economic package became law.

    Tuesday’s vote played out as disaffected crowds continued to occupy Wall Street, a square in Washington and parts of other cities around the country in protest of income inequality and related issues.


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