Almost two weeks after President Obama spoke on jobs before a joint session of Congress, and demanded that Congress “pass this bill,” the Senate has done precious little to move forward on the president’s demand.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., admitted Monday that the Senate floor was “pretty well jammed now,” suggesting that there may not be time to move on the bill until next month. The Senate has been working through the Trade Adjustment Assistance this week, as well as the Continuing Resolution and FEMA funding. Next week, the Senate has a planned recess for the Jewish new Year Rosh Hashanah. Reid has indicated the first item up after that is Chinese currency.
If Reid wanted to bring Obama’s jobs bill to the Senate floor for debate and a vote, of course he could, as Reid sets the Senate schedule. He has not done so yet, which is perhaps most telling about how he believes the Democratic caucus feels about the jobs bill. Reid has said that the caucus is discussing whether it’s going to take up the whole bill or go at it piecemeal, as many Democratic senators have suggested.
“The Democratic caucus feels very comfortable with his jobs bill,” Reid insisted Monday. “We’re very happy with the speech he gave yesterday talking about deficit reduction. Does that mean that we agree with every part of it? Of course not. None of us agree with every part of it.”
In the meantime, Republicans continue to highlight the Democratic reluctance to take up the bill.
“The president has been running around the country trying to set a record for the number of times he can say ‘pass this bill right away’ in a five-minute stump speech,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said this morning on the Senate floor. “Meanwhile, his communications director is telling people the president doesn’t really expect the bill to pass. And the Democratic majority leader of the Senate is treating it like a legislative afterthought.”
McConnell said that Democrats in Congress aren’t rushing to get in line to vote for this bill either.
“This so-called jobs bill seems to be about as popular as Solyndra, and I’m just talking about among Democrats. Yet the president’s out there acting like somebody’s actually putting up a fight. So this whole thing is a charade.”
Reid said the Senate would move on the president’s jobs bill “just as quickly as we can,” although given the long list of legislation Reid has piled up, “quickly” likely means slower than the president would like.