President Obama jobs bill fails to pass Senate
President Obama and others expected Republicans to vote against the jobs bill but Obama says, 'we can't take 'no' for an answer.'
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Senate Republicans voted Tuesday night to kill the jobs package President Barack Obama had spent weeks campaigning for across the country, a stinging loss at the hands of lawmakers opposed to stimulus-style spending and a tax increase on the very wealthy.
The $447 billion plan died on a 50-49 tally that garnered a majority of the 100-member Senate but fell well short of the 60 votes needed to keep the bill alive. The tally had been 51-48, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid switched his vote to "nay" so that he could force a future revote.
The demise of Obama's jobs package was expected, despite his campaign-style efforts to swing the public behind it. The White House and leaders in Congress were already moving on to alternative ways to address the nation's painful 9.1 percent unemployment, including breaking the legislation into smaller, more digestible pieces and approving long-stalled trade bills.
"Tonight's vote is by no means the end of this fight," Obama said in a statement after the vote. "Because with so many Americans out of work and so many families struggling, we can't take 'no' for an answer."
The White House appears most confident that it will be able to continue a 2-percentage-point Social Security payroll tax cut through 2012 and to extend emergency unemployment benefits to millions of people — if only because, in the White House view, Republicans won't want to accept the political harm of letting those provisions expire.
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