Last night the United States Senate — in one of those weird maneuvers that make sense only to Senators — took a vote that killed President Obama’s “jobs” bill. A majority of Senators voted in favor of moving the bill forward, but there weren’t enough votes to overcome a threatened filibuster. Every Republican opposed it, as did two Democrats, and other Democrats stated that they would have voted against the bill on its merits even if it had cleared the procedural hurdles.
So, the President’s speeches, radio addresses, and instructions to “pass this bill right away” failed to drum up support for his bill. No shocker there! Any request for another half trillion dollars in “stimulus” spending and tax increases was never going to pass Congress with Republicans in charge of the House, although it may be surprising that the bill couldn’t even get the unanimous support of Senate Democrats. In any case, the President can now rail against a “do-nothing” Congress during next year’s campaign — which may have been part of his motivation for proposing the doomed measure in the first place.
The Republicans have claimed that President Obama’s proposal was just campaign politicking. So what? Does anyone really think the President is above partisan politics? The problem with the President’s proposal is not that it was “political,” but that it did not generate much public support and the moderate Democratic Senators realized that. The Republicans therefore demonstrated that there is no appetite in the country for hundreds of billions of dollars in more spending and more taxes to pay for it — which probably was their goal from the beginning.
So, each side likely has the political argument that they wanted out of this process. Bully for them! No doubt the “talking points” have already been drafted and distributed, and the insiders can lean back in their chairs and breathe a sigh of satisfaction at a job well done. But, despite this tremendous exercise in careful political posturing, unemployment remains too high, the federal debt is skyrocketing, and the economic is becalmed. For the rest of us outside the confines of the Beltway, the question is: “Now what?”