Republicans Say They Rejected a ‘Second Stimulus’ Masquerading As a Jobs Bill

October 12, 2011 - 5:33 AM
McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, accompanied by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Ariz., talks about President Obama's job bill, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNSNews.com) - As Senate Democrats blast Republicans for voting against President Obama's "jobs bill" on Tuesday, Republicans say they did nothing of the kind.

According to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republicans on Tuesday voted against a "stimulus and tax hike bill" that was masquerading as a jobs bill. And Republicans welcomed the opportunity to so do, McConnell added.

"If voting against another stimulus is the only way we can get Democrats in Washington to finally abandon this failed approach to job creation, then so be it," McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor shortly before the vote.

The $447-billion bill died on a 50-49 vote, short of the 60 votes needed for passage.

Every Republican voted against the plan, with the exception of Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.), who is recovering from prostate surgery. Two Democrats -- Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jon Tester of Montana, both up for re-election next year -- joined Republicans in voting against the plan.

By proposing a second stimulus, Democrats have shown the American people they have no new ideas for dealing with job creation, McConnell said.

“Today’s vote is conclusive proof that Democrats’ sole proposal is to keep doing what hasn’t worked — along with a massive tax hike that we know won’t create jobs. So it’s hard to overstate the importance of this vote."

McConnell said anyone who votes for "this second stimulus" will have to explain why they would support an approach that failed the first time:

“The President’s first stimulus was a legislative and economic catastrophe," McConnell said. “Eight hundred and twenty-five billion dollars later, there are 1.5 million fewer jobs in this country than there were when the first stimulus was signed. That’s the clearest proof it was a monstrous failure.  And it’s the surest proof we have that those who support this second stimulus are not doing so to create jobs."

Given Republican control of the House of Representatives, President Obama knew his bill would not pass Congress. Proposing such a bill, then repeatedly demanding that Congress “pass this bill” was a political stunt all along, McConnell said.

"Democrats have designed this bill to fail," he said, hoping that anyone who votes against it will look bad for opposing a misnamed "jobs" bill.

“It doesn’t seem to matter that this bill won’t pass, or that even if it did pass, American businesses would be stuck with a permanent tax hike. Forget about all that," McConnell said. "What matters most to the Democrats who control the Senate, according to the stories I’ve been reading, is that they have an issue to run on next year.

"This whole exercise, by their own admission, is a charade that’s meant to give Democrats a political edge in an election that is 13 months away."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused Republicans of playing politics, too: "Republicans think if the economy improves it might help President Obama," he said. "So they root for the economy to fail, and oppose every effort to improve it. And they resist anything the President proposes no matter how common-sense, including this plan to create 2 million jobs."

Reid also accused Republicans of putting "the wants of millionaires and billionaires ahead of the needs of seniors and middle-class families."

Democrats aren’t giving up, however. They now plan to break up the bill in an attempt to pass its provisions piecemeal.

"Tonight's vote is by no means the end of this fight," Obama said in a statement after the vote. "Because with so many Americans out of work and so many families struggling, we can't take 'no' for an answer."

Earlier in the day, Obama told a union audience in Pittsburgh that any senator who voted no “should have to look you in the eye and tell you what exactly they're opposed to. Obama said the nays would “have a hard time explaining why they voted no on this bill — other than the fact that I proposed it."