GOP senators vote to defeat Obama's jobs bill
WASHINGTON (KABC) -- United against Barack Obama, Senate Republicans voted Tuesday night to kill the jobs package the president 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.
Forty-six Republicans joined with two Democrats to filibuster the $447 billion plan. Fifty Democrats had voted for it, but the vote was not final. The roll call was kept open to allow Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. to vote. The likely 51-48 eventual tally would be far short of the 60 votes needed to keep the bill alive in the 100-member Senate.
The demise of Obama's $447 billion 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.
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.
The $447 billion measure includes payroll tax cuts, spending on infrastructure projects, unemployment assistance and help to local governments to avoid layoffs.
Hundreds of demonstrators held a candlelight vigil in downtown Los Angeles Monday night, calling on lawmakers to approve the jobs bill.
Protesters said they want to send a clear message to Washington D.C. and corporate America.
"It's very important for the American dream. We want to keep that alive, so people will have hope and have jobs where they can get the things that they need and take care of their family," said Brenda Brown of Hawthorne.
Meantime, Obama's jobs council is set to release its recommendations Tuesday on how to tackle the nation's economic crisis and lower unemployment.
The 50-page report carefully avoids taking a stand on Obama's jobs package. Instead, it offers recommendations, such as improving infrastructure and creating a student loan repayment plan based on income.
Topping its list is a plea for improvements in the nation's network of roads and bridges, for airport upgrades and modernized ports, and for updated electric grids, water and wastewater systems.
Another focus of the jobs council is increasing entrepreneurship by reducing regulations and providing incentives for private firms and startups to go public.
It also steps into the politically charged debate over immigration. It proposes eased immigration rules for high-skilled foreigners, including automatic work permits or provisional visas to all foreign students after they earn science, technology, engineering or math degrees from U.S. colleges or universities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
washington d.c., president barack obama, jobs, unemployment, politics
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