Democratic Senators Control the Fate of Obama's Jobs Bill

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President Obama has been touring the country telling voters to ask Republicans in Congress why they won't do something to help the economy -- like pass his jobs plan. "If Congress does something, then I can't run against a do-nothing Congress," he said last week. But a handful of Senate Democrats don't plan on doing this particular something. The Senate will hold a procedural vote on Obama's plan at about 6p.m. Tuesday, and The Hill's Erik Wasson reports that Joe Manchin, Jon Tester, and Ben Nelson, Democrats who are up for reelection in 2012 in red states, plan to vote no. The bill will probably not get the 60 votes it needs to beat a filibuster; Senate Democrats expect that but plan to force Republicans to vote against the plan several times. But if too many conservative Democrats vote against it, it will be hard to blame the plan's failure on Republican obstructionism, Wasson writes.

These Democrats are reluctant despite Democratic leaders move to get wider support for the proposal by paying for it with a tax increase on millionaires. NBC News' First Read says a key question is whether Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will let any Republicans vote for the plan -- like Massachusetts' Scott Brown, who's already drawn a strong Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren. Politico's Manu Raju reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans on holding several votes on the package, forcing Republicans to repeatedly vote no. In the meantime, Raju reports, Sen. Chuck Schumer is working on a Plan B:

[Schumer] has been quietly courting some Senate Republicans and Democrats to see whether there is any appetite for merging a GOP-backed idea -- a tax holiday for corporations to bring home their overseas profits -- with a Democratic-supported plan of creating a national infrastructure bank. At the same time, Democrats are weighing whether to push ahead with other individual pieces of the president’s jobs plan, like its extension of the payroll tax cut. 
A lot of liberals don't think the infrastructure bank is worth the price of the tax holiday. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, told Raju it was "not such a good idea," and Sen. Ben Cardin said, "The desire on repatriation is to make sure that if you do it, it really does go for job growth." That's a big sticking point. Bloomberg's Jessie Druckler reported in June that Cisco was leading the lobbying effort for a repatriation deal -- the second since 2004. The company's CEO, John T. Chambers, says it could bring up to $1 trillion back into the American economy. But Chambers would not promise that any of the money his company brought back would go to creating a single job. As Druckler wrote:

On earnings calls, in speeches and in national media, Chambers has made the case for the tax break, saying it would help overcome a corporate tax system he calls “a dinosaur” and “put more than two million Americans back to work.”

It’s unclear whether any jobs would come from Cisco, which announced plans in May to shed an unspecified number of workers. Earnhardt, the spokesman, declined to comment on hiring plans for the company.

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