The Lookout

Republican filibuster blocks Obama jobs bill

Zachary Roth
The Lookout

When President Obama announced his jobs plan last month, few observers expected it to pass Congress in its entirety. And now that's looking all but official.

Senate Republicans last night filibustered an effort to begin debate on the bill. That means that the measure failed, even though it had the support of a majority of senators.

The vote in favor of advancing the bill was 50-49. But Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, voted no despite supporting the bill, because, thanks to the Senate's arcane procedures, doing so allows him to move to reconsider the vote in the future.

All 46 Senate Republicans who were present, plus two Democrats--Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana--opposed allowing the bill to proceed.

The White House now will likely be forced to break the bill up into separate parts. Among its provisions are increased infrastructure spending, tax cuts for small businesses, extensions of unemployment benefits and aid to cash-strapped states. It's still unclear, however, which provisions in the legislation can win support from the GOP.

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