Senate Republicans blocked President Obama's jobs bill on Tuesday, remaining united to prevent Democrats from mustering the 60 votes needed to overcome a GOP filibuster and move the bill forward. The 50-49 vote essentially ended Obama's chance of passing the entire $447 billion package of tax hikes on the wealthy and stimulus spending — especially since the bill stands no chance in the GOP-dominated House. But the president vowed to push Congress to approve individual pieces of the plan, which has proven popular in polls. Will Obama's new strategy work?
Obama is effectively highlighting GOP obstructionism: The Republican filibuster was "a breathtaking act of economic vandalism," says The New York Times in an editorial. Most economists agree that Obama's proposals would swiftly lift economic growth and put more than 1 million Americans back to work. But the GOP is committed to denying the president a victory — even if it's good for the country. Separating the bill into parts isn't likely to win much GOP support, but at least it will keep the focus on the fact that Obama is "advocating real ideas" while the GOP puts politics over jobs.
"No jobs bill, and no ideas"
And Obama may get some parts of his plan approved: Look, Obama never had a prayer to get his entire bill through Congress, says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. Even if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had managed to muscle the bill to a final vote, "there was enough Democratic opposition to the bill itself to put the odds of final passage fairly low." But by bringing it up "piecemeal," Obama should get a few things, such as the payroll tax cut (which Republicans are ideologically inclined to support), passed easily.
"Senate blocks Obama jobs bill"
Actually, this strategy exposes Obama's weakness: The president wants people to think the GOP is sabotaging the economy for political gain, says Michael Warren at The Weekly Standard. But the truth is that many Democrats oppose the president's jobs package, too. When Obama presses these issues individually, Americans will continue to see that Republicans aren't "solely responsible" — Democrats are skeptical about Obama's tax hikes, too.
"Obama misleads on opposition to jobs bill"