Politics

Reid: Senate will stay in session ‘as long as necessary’ to pass $35 billion stimulus

Nicholas Ballasy Senior Video Reporter

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed Monday to keep the Senate in session “as long as necessary” to pass $35 billion in stimulus spending included in President Obama’s American Jobs Act, and to pay for it with a new surtax on millionaires. The jobs bill itself failed last week in the Democratic-controlled Senate, which Reid leads. Reid himself voted “no.”

“Since the Republicans chose to block the president’s jobs bill, we’ll be bringing up individual components of this legislation to do our utmost to find commonsense, common-ground, job-creating measures that the Republicans will support,” Reid said during a conference call on Monday.

“I’m happy to keep the Senate in session for as long as necessary to get this done. I hope my Republican colleagues will not put their desire to play political games or to even go back home next week to avoid our responsibility to create jobs.”

Reid announced earlier on the Senate floor that Democrats will “pursue” $30 billion in education spending included in the president’s jobs bill, along with $5 billion to “retain” police, firefighters and first responders.

“I’m going to bring the bill up today, and we’ll decide in the next day or two when we’re going to vote on it. We’re going to do our utmost to get this done as quickly as we can,” Reid said on the conference call.

Reid estimates that the $35 billion will “approximately” save or create 400,000 jobs.

“It will be paid for by the tax — 5 percent tax on millionaires, something that the vast majority of the American people agree with; in fact, 75 percent,” said Reid. (RELATED: Reid: Dems will pursue $35 billion stimulus in Obama jobs bill)

Reid was also asked if he has decided which part of the American Jobs Act to take up in the Senate next week.

“Yes, I have decided, but I’m not telling you,” he said. “We’ve made a decision. I’ll go through it with my caucus tomorrow.”

In a procedural vote last Tuesday, Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jon Tester of Montana sided with Republicans in rejecting President Obama’s jobs bill. Harry Reid himself cast a “no” vote as the legislation’s sponsor, in order to allow for the the bill’s re-introduction later.

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