Despite President Barack Obama’s urgency to “pass this bill now,” the American Jobs Act may have to wait until next month, or later, before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even brings it to the floor for a vote.
In his speech to a joint session of Congress last week, Obama implored lawmakers to pass the bill and its $477 billion price tag immediately. And this week, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) launched a campaign of web and television ads touting the bill and rallying support for its passage.
None of that may matter, since Reid’s response has been more of a careless shrug. It’s not surprising, though, considering the discontent surrounding the bill from Senate Democrats.
Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia called the president’s ideas for paying for the billy “terrible.”
“We shouldn’t increase taxes on ordinary income. … There are other ways to get there,” he added. (RELATED: Obama’s jobs bill has charitable givers reeling)
Even Sen. John Kerry, the liberal lion from Massachusetts, doubts the bill will pass in full: “I don’t think anybody expects it to pass en bloc. So, the issue is going to be what, if any, parts of it might be cherry-picked.”
Other Democrats are upset over the bill’s offsets. The Alaska delegation opposes singling out the oil industry’s tax loopholes. In short, Obama’s plan to solve the nation’s jobs crisis is proving to be a difficult sell even to his own party.
“Senator Reid has a problem in his own caucus,” Brian Phillips, Communications Director for Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, told The Daily Caller. “Nearly a dozen Democrats have said the president’s plan is ‘terrible’, ‘unfair’, that it ‘won’t fly’, or that it couldn’t pass as is.”
“If the president’s own party can’t agree, I would be surprised to see any action before the end of the month,” Phillips added. “Republicans are exposing the president’s plan as ‘Stimulus 2,’ a predictable rehash of the president’s failed 2009 stimulus that throws borrowed money down the black hole of government spending. We’ll respond with measures that create jobs by lessening the burden of the federal government on families and businesses, such as the Regulation Moratorium and Jobs Preservation Act and the REINS Act.”
On Tuesday, Reid told reporters that when it comes to specific pieces of legislation, he has other priorities before he gets to the jobs bill. They include the FEMA bill, several trade bills, and a bill on the Chinese currency.
“So we have an infrastructure bill,” said Reid. “We’ll likely do that next work period. … I don’t know exactly what I need to do yet with the — with the president’s jobs bill.”
Reid will be meeting with the full Democratic caucus on Thursday, however, to discuss the party’s plan moving forward.
Republicans are expecting to take up the bill in pieces, rather than on an all-or-nothing basis.