Jaime Dupree wrote:Jobs Bill Switch
It was an interesting day in the U.S. Senate, as just a few hours after the unveiling of a bipartisan jobs bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid deep-sixed the plan and opted for a slimmed down jobs measure that wasn't loaded with legislative extras.
"We're going to do a bill that has four things in it," Reid told reporters after a Thursday lunch meeting with fellow Democratic Senators.
It was a big surprise, because just about 90 minutes earlier, the White House had been hailing a deal involving Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) on jobs as an expample of bipartisanship.
"The President is gratified to see the Senate moving forward in a bipartisan manner on steps to help put Americans back to work," said a statement from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
"The draft bill released today by Senators Baucus and Grassley includes several of the President's top priorities for job creation."
Instead of the larger plan, which clocked in at over $100 billion, Reid opted for a focus on four items and a reported price tag of $15 billion.
Reid's new plan would be limited to:
* A new tax credit for hiring workers
* Extra money for highway projects
* Small Business tax breaks
* Build America BondsSpoiler:"The American people need a message," Reid said, "and the message they need is that we are doing something about jobs," as Reid acknowledged that stories about other items in the bill were clouding the Democratic message.
The original jobs bill which had made the rounds during the week had those four items in it, but it was also stuffed with all kinds of unrelated matters, ranging from no-interest loans for certain chicken farmers in Arkansas to 45 pages of pension law changes, satellite television, anti-terrorism laws and more.
It was not immediately clear how many jobs the plan would create, or how much it would cost, but it would definitely be less than the original bipartisan plan.
But Reid's move angered Republicans, who had worked with Democrats to forge a jobs deal, and last evening, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Reid's effort to have the new, slimmed-down bill approved by the Senate.
Instead, Reid laid out a series of parliamentary moves last night - known as "filling the tree" - which will allow him to control the debate when it resumes on February 22nd after a week long Congressional break.
I am still waiting for the legislative text on this new plan. I learned a long time ago not to trust anyone when they tell me that the bill is "clean" with no extras.
Weird. Reid seems to be throwing his weight around more than usual. And why? To cut out some pork?
It seems unwise to (a) shatter a major bipartisan initiative, and (b) delay the much-touted jobs bill. That may come back to bite him in the ass in the coming election.