Will a Jobs Bill Will Be Easier Than Health Care Reform?

Scott Brown's Massachusetts victory means that if the House doesn't pass the Senate version of health care stat, the Democratic Party will have to look somewhere else to build momentum for their agenda. Brian Beutler listens to their plans:


So what's next for the Senate? Leaders and rank and file members say: Jobs, jobs, jobs.

"The country is speaking to us, and we will show we hear them in the agenda we pursue over the next year," reads a statement from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to TPMDC. "Our focus must be on jobs, the economy and delivering for the middle class."

I don't entirely understand the logic behind this.

One week ago, the jobs stimulus bill was on life support, and the health care bill was basically a fait accompli. About one in six House Democrats didn't vote for the jobs bill in December. That's basically the same as health care reform. A handful of Senate Democrats have said they won't vote for the jobs bill because it will increase the deficit. Health care has (or at least had) 59 senators behind it. What's more, there's no indication that Republicans are willing to work with Democrats on a jobs bill that sends tens of billions of dollars to bail out state payrolls. What exactly about this issue strikes Democratic leaders as a logical "check-down" if they turn away from health care?

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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