Reid's plan is to set the jobs bill up for a test vote later in October, but as a stand-alone proposition. That vote, if successful, would allow the Senate to debate the legislation -- argue about it on the floor, offer amendments. But it will likely run headlong into a GOP-led filibuster. If it does, Dems will be able to claim Republicans won't even allow debate on the jobs package, and try to win the battle for public perception.
McConnell tried to short circuit that plan Tuesday by offering the Senate a chance to tack Obama's jobs bill, unamended, on to the China currency legislation -- a bill that already enjoys broad bipartisan support. As McConnell predicted, Reid objected. And he got his headlines.
But that's not the end of the story. Or rather, the story's not in those headlines. Reid also offered McConnell several options, including to delay debate on the China currency bill and hold the first test vote on the jobs bill today, but as a stand-alone measure. But of course, that woudn't have given McConnell what he wanted -- either to have Reid obstruct Obama's jobs bill, or for Obama's jobs bill to fail on a bipartisan basis. So he wasn't exactly keen on it. Thus, no vote for Obama's jobs bill today, unless it's on McConnell's terms.
This, I think it's safe to say, is why Congress' approval rating is at a record high.
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