Why the Jobs Bills Failed

12 Dems voted no

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A new jobs bill failed in the Senate by 45 to 52 on Wednesday, with 12 Democrats voting against. The $80 billion bill would have extended unemployment benefits, implemented new tax breaks, and given states aid for government employees such as teachers and policemen. Why did it fail and what's next for Democrats hoping to push economic recovery?

  • Concerns About Ballooning Unemployment Spending  Bloomberg's Brian Faler reports, "Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said lawmakers want to begin paring the extended unemployment benefits created in response to the recession because 'this is not something that can go on indefinitely.' McCaskill said that 'if you don't start having those discussions then it begins to look like a brand-new level of entitlement program, which is something that we really can't afford to do right now in this country.'"
  • Senate Losing Interest In Job Creation  The Washington Post's Ezra Klein sighs, "Unemployment may be at 9.7%, but the Senate is moving on. Or, at the least, they care about the deficit more. ... There'll come a time when we need to start reducing the deficit. If we can get the economy back into gear, that time might even be soon. But for now, increasing the size of the deficit isn't some nasty side effect of stimulus spending. It is, quite literally, the point of the enterprise."
  • Because Defense Spending Is Too High  The Atlantic's Joshua Green summarizes his most recent column, "Job bill fails because deficit's at all-time high. So's military spending. And that's why Obama should cut it." Green adds, "Targeting wasteful military spending -- like, say, those subsidies to the French -- might even channel Tea Party anger over government spending toward a productive purpose."
  • The Coming Stunemflation Crisis  The American Prospect's Tim Fernholz predicts, "The American economic doldrums of the seventies were summed up with the term 'stagflation.' Since there seems to be no will to do anything productive about our current situation, and little promise of a better approach next year, perhaps we'd best come up with a new portmanteau. Somehow we can jam together 'unemployment,' 'deflation' and 'stagnation': Maybe 'stunemflation'?"
  • Senate To Try Again, For Less  Politico's David Rogers writes, "Closing in on 60 votes, Senate Democrats trimmed billions more from their once ambitious jobs and economic relief bill Wednesday in hopes of winning over swing Republicans and breaking the stalemate this week. The spending reductions — estimated near $20 billion — are accompanied by tax changes tailored to the small-business concerns of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) as well as venture capital and real estate interests with influence in both parties."
  • Next Steps for Dems  The Washington Independent's Annie Lowrey proscribes, "So how do Democrats move forward? Likely by finding funding for some of the provisions, or continuing to argue they are emergency. It is not clear what will get cut and what will get paygo funding at this point."
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