Jobs Effort or Political Stunt? Senate Democrats Make Last-Minute Push

By Jenny Schlesinger

Sep 28, 2010 9:35am

ABC News' Matthew Jaffe reports: Jobs. Voters are worried about them. Lawmakers are, too. If you want a seat on Capitol Hill, you better convince voters that you feel their pain and you’re doing something about it. That dynamic is on full display today as the Senate gets set to leave town at week’s end for a month of pre-election campaigning. Just before heading home, Senate Democrats are making a last-ditch push for an anti-outsourcing jobs bill that has little chance of passing. The bill would provide a two-year break in payroll taxes for every new employee hired to replace one overseas, but it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. Even Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus has voiced concerns that it would put the US at a competitive disadvantage. When the bill is put to a procedural vote this morning, it seems likely to get shot down. But that hasn't stopped Majority Leader Harry Reid – locked in a re-election fight of his own – from plowing ahead. He called senators back to the Hill at 7pm Monday night for a live quorum to debate the bill and kept them there until 10pm, all part of an effort to highlight GOP obstruction. “So far we’ve seen little to indicate that our friends on the other side of the aisle have any interest in protecting American jobs,” Reid said on the Senate floor Monday. “Instead we’ve seen them fight with great enthusiasm to keep corporate tax loopholes as wide open as possible. Let’s use this week to remember who we work for: middle-class families and the hardworking people who built this country and will rebuild it toward recovery.” While the last-minute jobs push might help Democrats on the campaign trail, it doesn’t appear likely to deliver any results on the Hill. Even if the bill did secure bipartisan support and get past today’s vote, Republican aides say there’s not enough time for senators to complete it right now. With only days left before lawmakers head home, Congress still has bigger fish to fry, namely that not-so-minor matter of extending government funding to prevent a federal shutdown. Republicans say that’s why Reid’s focus on the anti-outsourcing jobs bill is nothing more than “a cheap political stunt.” “The last thing an unemployed guy wants to read about in the news is a bunch of nerdy Democrat staffers high-fiving over their latest idea for a cheap political stunt,” one GOP aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told ABC News. “They’re tired of Democrats screwing around. They want results.”

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