Jobs Bill Blocked in Senate

Posted June 21, 2011 at 7:33pm

A Republican-led filibuster blocked a Senate jobs measure Tuesday, a month after the GOP halted a small-business bill in a dispute over allowing Republican amendments.

Just 49 Senators voted to end debate; 60 are needed. Four Democrats — Sens. Tim Johnson (S.D.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) — joined 45 Republicans to oppose ending debate, and no Republicans voted in support.

The Economic Development Administration reauthorization bill had become bogged down with more than 90 amendments filed on it, the vast majority of which having nothing to do with the underlying bill.

For example, an amendment that would eliminate the 45-cents-a-gallon ethanol tax subsidy and a 54-cent tariff on imported ethanol was approved 73-27 last week, even though revenue provisions must originate in the House. The provision could still be attached to a future House bill.

Democratic leaders have grown increasingly frustrated over the stalled legislation and are portraying the Republicans as obstructionists who don’t care about the unemployed. The Democrats plan to hold a news event Wednesday to call for the inclusion of job-creation measures in the deficit reduction deal being hammered out under Vice President Joseph Biden.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), meanwhile, said Tuesday that he was making progress toward moving to a bill that would eliminate 400 positions from Senate confirmation requirements.