Pared-Back Jobs Bill Rejected
Yesterday evening, Senate Republicans, joined by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), voted against ending debate on the jobs bill, also known as the extenders’ bill or H.R. 4213. The Republicans considered most likely to cross the fence for the bill — Sens. Olympia Snowe (Maine), Susan Collins (Maine) and Scott Brown (Mass.) — voted with their party. The final vote was 56-40 in favor of ending debate.
It seems Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) believed that the Senate was ready for passage when he called the vote. He told reporters after the failed cloture vote that Lieberman would caucus with the Democrats and that “we thought we had enough votes to pass this.”
After the failed cloture vote, Reid attempted to move individual pieces of the bill via unanimous consent. Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.), the minority leader, objected to them. McConnell then attempted to move on the slim, deficit-neutral Republican version of the bill. Reid did not consent.
Reid had pared down the bill by cutting a $25-a-week add-on to unemployment insurance checks and shortening the length of the “doc fix” staving off a 21 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement rates to doctors. The pared-back bill added $55 billion to the deficit over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Now, Medicaid funding for the states might be on the chopping block.