Snow and Republicans are conspiring against the nation's unemployed. There's not much anyone can do about the former, with even more forecasted over the next day and a half. And with Scott Brown now seated, there are questions about what can happen with the latter.

    Although both parties say Washington should be focused on jobs -- January's unemployment rate came in Friday at 9.7 percent -- Democrats can't move a bill without 60 votes, and they control only 59.

    And while the storm made negotiations more difficult, aides and lawmakers say there were substantive problems, too -- and that the difficulty of reaching agreement even on a relatively small jobs bill, packed with tax cuts backed by Republicans, illustrates the tough partisan politics of the Senate as it moves toward the elections this fall.

Meanwhile, unemployment still hovers around 10 percent, despite a slight downtick in the latest numbers. With stimulus funding now running out, the crisis for states is still looming, particularly in education. Republican games continue, and the nation continues to hurt. Brian Beutler reports on the sticking point:...

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.