Five Republicans joined Democrats in a key cloture vote moments ago, allowing debate on a jobs package to move forward. After overcoming this hurdle, debate on the bill can begin.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) broke with his party and voted with the Democrats. So did Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kit Bond (R-MO) and George Voinovich (R-OH).
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) was the only Democrat to break with his party.
The final vote tally was 62-30.
It had been uncertain earlier in the day whether any Republicans would help Democrats reach 60 votes and overcome the threat of a GOP filibuster. With Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) out of the Senate after being diagnosed with stomach cancer, Democrats needed at least two Republican votes to overcome a GOP filibuster threat.“Work with us on this,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said moments before the vote. “Show us you’re serious about legislating.”
Reid also warned Republicans: Fail to support this bill, and the minority would “confirm their reputation as the ‘Party of No.'”
And after the vote? “I hope this is the beginning of a new day here in the Senate,” Reid said.
The bill, which is much smaller than some original proposals, would exempt businesses from paying Social Security payroll taxes this year after hiring from the nation’s pool of millions of unemployed. The Build-America Bonds Act of 2009 would be renewed by the jobs bill. The scaled-down bill would also extend some tax breaks for small businesses, renew highway programs through December, and put $20 billion in the highway trust fund.
Brown issued the following statement about his vote:
I came to Washington to be an independent voice, to put politics aside, and to do everything in my power to help create jobs for Massachusetts families. This Senate jobs bill is not perfect. I wish the tax cuts were deeper and broader, but I voted for it because it contains measures that will help put people back to work. Â
I was disappointed with the continuation of politics-as-usual in the drafting of this bill, as it was crafted behind closed doors, without transparency and accountability. Â I hope for improvements in that process going forward. All of us, Republicans and Democrats, have to work together to get our economy back on track. I hope my vote today is a strong step toward restoring bipartisanship in Washington.