Las Vegas Sun

March 2, 2015

Currently: 61° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Harry Reid toils to secure votes on jobs bill



Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Oct. 5 to discuss President Barack Obama’s jobs bill.

Sun Coverage

Sen. Harry Reid plans to bring up President Barack Obama’s jobs bill this week, and he’s going to do it his way.

Reid has the difficult task of trying to strong-arm resistant Republicans while assisting a Democratic president who doesn’t always consult him on the feasibility of his initiatives before he rolls them out.

Enter the jobs bill. Obama unveiled during a speech to a joint session of Congress in early September his plan to inject $450 billion into the economy by directing the funds toward infrastructure, which would create construction jobs.

Obama has since taken the refrain of that speech: “Pass this jobs bill!” on a campaign tour of the country.

But that’s on the road. In the Senate, “pass this jobs bill” — in the sense of go ahead, try to pass this jobs bill — has also taken on the tone of a threat from Republicans, who believe they can vote it down.

For the past month, Reid has been ignoring both as he and Democratic leaders craft an alternative.

Sometimes it’s been subtle: Two weeks ago, Reid deflected questions about his plans for the jobs bill by talking about a jobs agenda headlined by a bill to censure China for unfair currency-manipulation practices.

Sometimes it’s been explosive: Last week, Reid dropped a “nuclear option” procedural move to make it impossible to offer nontopical amendments to legislation after it has cleared setup votes. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, it just so happens, was trying to force a vote on Obama’s jobs bill in its original form by offering it as an amendment to the Chinese currency measure.

The majority leader has been reminding the public on a near-daily basis that McConnell has made defeating Obama next November his No. 1 priority.

But McConnell isn’t the only one putting Reid in a tight spot. It’s not easy to sell a stimulus bill to Congress while it’s also attempting to tame deficits. That task is even harder because the president proposed paying for half of his bill with reductions in war spending due to the drawdown in military operations: a funding stream lawmakers ultimately eschewed for accounting purposes during the debt-ceiling debate.

The jobs bill the Senate expected to vote on this week substitutes Obama’s plan with a new proposal to pay for it: a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires — the top 0.4 percent of wage earners in America — which would start in 2013. It would almost cover the cost of the jobs bill, $445 billion of the $450 billion.

Republicans are expected to oppose the policy — and as of last week, Reid didn’t even expect every Democrat to sign on.

But in revising the measure Reid has made arguing against it more uncomfortable: When Republicans say they voted against Obama’s high-priced, so-called jobs bill, Democrats are sure to retort something like yes, you voted against American jobs that were paid for, to protect the profits of millionaires.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 10 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. @blister8

    Since only 7% of the private sector is union,how do you figure this is buying union votes ?
    Also,where does Sen. Heller stand on this ?

  2. The headline really should have read, "Blindsided by the Boss---doing damage control!"

  3. Its a tax bill not a jobs bill. If the gov kept giving handouts to everyone we wouldn't need to raise taxes.

  4. We've been waiting for more then three years for the "private sector", i.e. churches, corporations and the wealthy to step in ahead of the Government and put people to work.

    That didn't work in the Great Depression and it doesn't work now. The churches were mad as hell at FDR for taking away potential converts all they could offer were prayers. When the minister broke the loaf of bread, he only got two smaller parts of the loaf. When he broke a fish, he got only two smaller parts of the fish. Feeding the multitudes with a few loaves of bread and fish only works in print, not in the daylight and the private sector takes care of themselves first.

    Only the Government can for a unified force that puts the country back in order. China is getting very powerful these days.

  5. Good luck, Harry. Cooler heads will prevail and we won't piss another trillion dollars down the rathole. Obama needs to go to save this country.

  6. Good job, Senator Reid.

    The Republican elected officials in the Senate NEED to go down on paper, on the written record, for all to see, that they are against unemployed Americans getting a job.

    They can make up excuses from now til kingdom come, but the truth of the matter is they are only interested in party politics.

    They fully intend that millions and millions of Americans do not get jobs. All so they can prevent one person from being employed next year.

    This makes the entire Republican Party despicable.

    There was a recent poll where they asked people what GOP stood for. Only 51 percent correctly identified it as the "Grand Ole Party."

    I really think that was actually the second choice.

    The actual abbreviation was GOPOTPAWMAMAKYHOIIM*. But that was too long, so they decided on GOP.

    *Stands for Got Our Piece Of The Pie And Want More And More And Keep Your Hands Off It, It's Mine.

  7. Great work harry, the jobs bill is to pay for things like the desert go ahead and waste those rich peoples' money on your pork barrel crappy project.

  8. In the end, Harry the hater became Harry the Traitor and voted No!! So now even the president knows Harry is untrustworthy and will turn on any one at any time.

  9. Harry and Obama.....Pathetic.

  10. The bottom line question is: Are we better off today than we were $4 trillion dollars ago?
    And, how likely is it that we'll be better off when that number becomes $5 trillion or more?

    Sooner or later, we have to begin to live with a balanced budget. We simply cannot continue to
    borrow each year to fund the govt. and then keep
    piling on more debt with more irresponsible spending. And, then to keep raising the debt
    ceiling to accommodate even more spending while
    passing along the problem to future generations
    to resolve is short-sighted and selfish. The
    $14.5 trillion federal deficit is our problem
    and we need to start working on it now - not later - not via some dreamed up 10 yr plan that
    no one will follow. Remember PAYGO and all the
    hype that went with it? Well, PAYGO didn't last
    3 weeks. For the present, neither Congress or
    the White House can be trusted to come up with
    real solutions to our real problems. What we
    have before us is considerable fluff with very
    little substance or merit.