A divided Senate rejected two jobs initiatives supported by the president on Thursday night and President Obama issued a midnight denunciation of the political gridlock.
“For the second time in two weeks,” he wrote, “every single Republican in the United States Senate has chosen to obstruct a bill that would create jobs and get our economy going again. That’s unacceptable.”
Republicans were joined by three Democratic senators in refusing to pass the president’s request for $35 billion in immediate support to communities where teachers, police, and firefighters are facing layoffs because of tight local finances.
The president demanded in his response, “Those Americans deserve an explanation as to why they don’t deserve those jobs – and every American deserves an explanation as to why Republicans refuse to step up to the plate and do what’s necessary to create jobs and grow the economy right now.”
In a bipartisan vote, the Senate also turned back a proposal from Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, which was part of the president’s proposed American Jobs Act, eliminating a 3 percent withholding rule for money paid to government contractors and vendors. Supporters argue the 3 percent should remain in the hands of companies. Ten Democrats joined all Republican senators in blocking that provision.
President Obama takes his case for jobs legislation on the road again next week to the West Coast. His statement rebuking the Senate declares, “Our fight isn’t over.”
- Ann Compton