Senate Republicans Thursday blocked debate on yet another portion of President Obama’s jobs bill — one that would have provided $60 billion for funding transportation projects, and seeded a new infrastructure bank.
The vote was 51 – 49 with only 2 members of the Dem caucus — Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) — joining the GOP.
It was the third test vote on jobs measures Republicans have stymied. In recent weeks they filibustered debate on the whole American Jobs Act, and on legislation that would have provided states $35 billion to hire and retain teachers and emergency responders. All the bills are paid for with tiny surtaxes on income over $1 million.
Republicans countered with a bill that would provide highway funding, but cut $40 billion in discretionary funds for federal programs, and that included legislation called the REINS act, which would give Congress an effective veto over executive branch regulations like worker and environmental protections.
Both bills were expected to fail, but the GOP and Democrats are hoping to use the votes to bolster dueling political narratives about the opposing party’s refusal to support economic growth.