Senate Sets Vote on Next Slice of Stalled Jobs Bill

The Senate will move forward with another piece of President Obama’s jobs bill the first week in November, following the failure of two separate pieces of  the bill Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced in a conference call today that the next part of Obama’s jobs bill that they will now move to is a $70 billion bill to rebuild roads bridges and infrastructure.

The Rebuild America Jobs Act, Reid said, would create “hundreds of thousands” of new jobs. The bill invests $50 billion in immediate projects for roads, rails and airports and another $10 billion for a National Infrastructure Bank that will leverage private and public capital to help fund infrastructure projects.

The bill is paid for by a 0.7 percent surcharge of Americans making over $1 million.

“Everyone who has stepped outside their front door or traveled a little bit knows how badly we’re in need of doing something about our highways, roads, bridges, dams and we’re doing to do that,” Reid said. “There is no reason to block this bill.”

The Senate will vote on this bill after a week-long recess next week.

But that vote is likely to be another rejection if it follows the pattern of the previous jobs measures. Senate Republicans, and likely some Democrats, have been consistently against what they call new “stimulus spending,” and oppose the tax increase for Americans making more than $1 million a year.

“Two years after spending tens of billions of dollars on ‘shovel ready’ projects in his first stimulus bill, President Obama famously admitted that those projects weren’t as shovel-ready as he thought they were,” said John Ashbrook, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “It would be the height of irresponsibility to make the same mistake twice.”

Reid bristled when asked why he would not change the “payfor,” which some members of his own party and all Republicans are against, insisting that it is a “very small surtax” and if Senate Republicans are against this it means they are not “in tune” with their constituents.

“They need to break away from the pack and do what their Republican constituents around the country think is the right thing to do,” Reid said.

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