Obama Jobs Bill Needs Modifications, Sen. Reid Says

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he plans to bring Obama's jobs bill up for a vote in a few weeks, but not without some modifications.

The Senate's Democratic caucus has some objections to the bill in its current form. The Republican-led House also will not bring the bill to a vote as-is, but may vote on parts of the bill separately.

“Pass this bill,” President Obama has been urging Congress in stump speeches across the country.

In a stunt designed to demonstrate lack of support for the bill in Obama's own party, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) brought the Obama jobs bill to the floor of the Senate Tuesday and asked for a vote on the bill. As McConnell anticipated, Senate Democrats objected and blocked a vote on it.

“What a charade we have going on here,” Reid said on the Senate floor after McConnell offered the bill.

Reid and McConnell sparred again Wednesday on the Senate floor.

“[Obama and Senate Democrats] may have different ideas on how to pay for it,” Reid said, “but we know the present legislation is a smart, effective way to spur job creation. … The American people believe it's time for millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. … We'll ask Americans who make more than $1 million to contribute a little more ….”

McConnell responded by saying, “For the past three weeks, President Obama has been racing around the country trying to rally public support for a second stimulus bill and demanding that Congress pass it 'right away.'”

“Just yesterday in Texas, he called on Congress to put the bill up for a vote so the entire country knows exactly where every member of Congress stands,” McConnell said with a smirk.

“So yesterday I tested the president's rhetoric. I proposed that we do exactly what he wants and vote right away … and the Democrats blocked it. In other words, the president's own party is the only obstacle to having a vote on his so-called jobs bill.”

Obama's proposed bill would provide additional funding for constructing roads and schools, funding for state and local governments and an extension of the payroll tax cut. To pay for it, Obama wants to end the tax cuts for the top two income brackets – or families making more than $250,000 per year – end some deductions for high income earners, and impose a “Buffett rule” – a minimum tax for millionaires.

Obama's tax proposals did not, apparently, have enough support in the Senate's Democratic caucus. Reid's new plan would instead pay for the jobs bill by imposing a 5 percent surtax on incomes more than $1 million to cover the $450 billion cost of the bill over 10 years.

In stump speeches, Obama has been touting the fact that his proposed tax increases would not go into effect until 2013, but in Reid's new plan, the tax increases would start in 2012.

Leaders in the Republican-led House have said the Obama jobs bill is “dead,” but parts of the bill, such as tax cuts and regulatory reform, may be voted on individually.

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