We all remember the speech. “Pass this jobs bill right away!” We all heard that phrase many times during the President’s prime time speech on jobs. Yet, after a month, there had been no bill brought to the floor of either chamber of Congress.
When I wrote about how Dems weren’t even trying to place the bill in the House, I recall someone saying that there was no point, because Republicans wouldn’t vote for it and it would lose. My view was (and is) that you at least have to try.
According to President Obama, Republicans are blocking his bill in the house, so he took the time to call out Eric Cantor during a stop in Texas:
President Barack Obama got tough on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Tuesday, calling him out by name for saying he will block a vote on the president’s $447 billion plan to create jobs and boost the economy.
“Yesterday, the Republican majority leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now, he won’t even let the jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives. That’s what he said,” Obama told a crowd in Mesquite, Texas. “Won’t even let it be debated. … Do they not have the time? They just had a week off. Is it inconvenient?”
Now, if thats true, then the President is right for calling him out. But, Cantor retorted with a good point about support, or lack of, for the bill from the President’s own party:
Cantor said Monday that the president’s jobs bill is dead on arrival in the House and won’t be brought to a vote. “This all-or-nothing approach is unreasonable,” he said. “I would say from a practical side … he’s got problems on his own side of the aisle with provisions in the bill that Democratic members disagree with. There are many issues that I’ve listed here that we can work together on. So instead of continuing to maintain this sort of campaign posture, let’s do something to work together.”
Somehow, the President conveniently left out that many in his own party don’t support his bill as written. But pointing that out wouldn’t score political points, now would it?
Then, the Obama campaign sends out an email pointing out that Cantor and Co. were blocking the bill. Because of course, the best way to raise money is to call out the other guys, right?
There was only one problem. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who happens to be a Democrat, went “nuclear” in order to block a vote on the very jobs bill that President Obama yelled at Republicans for blocking. In other words, to prevent a vote, Reid changed the rules of the Senate:
Reid and 50 members of his caucus voted to change Senate rules unilaterally to prevent Republicans from forcing votes on uncomfortable amendments after the chamber has voted to move to final passage of a bill.
Reid’s coup passed by a vote of 51-48, leaving Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fuming.
The surprise move stunned Republicans, who did not expect Reid to bring heavy artillery to what had been a humdrum knife fight over amendments to China currency legislation.
For those who forgot, the last time there was discussion of the “nuclear option,” it was because Democrats were stalling to block Bush judicial nominees, and Republicans were threatening to do what Reid did yesterday. Of course, back then, Dems were howling that it wouldn’t be right for Republicans to change how things had been done in the Senate for many many years just to get their way, and in the end there was a bipartisan compromise to get past the gridlock. Yet, Reid jumped in yesterday and opened Pandora’s Box.
Reid claims his move was to prevent the Republicans from offering endless amendments to the bill up for vote, and that Republicans were just trying to “embarrass the President” since they know the bill wouldn’t pass as written–due to lack of support from Senate Democrats.
So, the question is, will the President call out his own party? Will his campaign send out an email talking about how Reid and friends are blocking the jobs bill and should explain themselves?
Don’t hold your breath.