Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Daily Strike-2/9/10-Jobs, Baby.

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. The DC area continues to be paralyzed with winter weather. We could be getting another foot or so of snow in the next 24 hours. In fact, I have to go out on my freezing porch to even get internet access! The House has cancelled votes for the week, and the Senate 's schedule is in question. It was a perfect setup for the Washington Post's Tom Toles.

JOBS: The Senate is on the cusp of reaching agreement on a jobs bill. The bill is, quite frankly, pretty meager and disappointing, though it is still better than nothing. The bill will contain four components, according to an article by our good friends at Open Left.

1. A tax credit, proposed by Senators Schumer (NY) and Hatch (UT) for small businesses that hire new workers.

2. So-called "build American Bonds" which help state and local governments borrow more money. This is a very important provision given that so many states have had to lay off workers. I wish there was far more aid to states in this bill.

3. An extension of various expiring tax cuts.

4. About $20 billion for the highway trust fund.

The jobs bill that passed the House back in December was much stronger. It had far more money for infrastructure and greater aid to states. But the new reality is that Democrats will need the support of one Republican in order for this thing to pass. Republicans are in no mood to compromise, so doing anything more progressive would be virtually impossible. Welcome to politics in 2010.

THE SENATE: The Senate (at least some of it) was actually in Washington for a couple of votes this afternoon. The first vote was on the nomination of Joseph A. Greenway to be a Circuit Court Judge. His nomination was agreed to unanimously by a vote of 84-0. The next vote was a major disappointment for progressives. Craig Becker, the nominee to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board, did not get the 60 votes needed to advance. Becker was opposed unanimously by Republicans, who did not agree with his modestly pro-organized labor views. The final vote was 52-33, with 15 Senators not showing up to vote. Unfortunately, cloture requires 3/5ths of all those duly chosen and sworn, not those present and voting. Democrats Ben Nelson (NE) and Blanche Lincoln (AR) voted against the nomination. Lincoln is trying to tack hard to the right in what is an increasingly impossible reelection fight, and her state is a "right-to-work" anti-union state. Nelson is just, well, Nelson.

This was the first vote for newly sworn-in Senator Scott Brown (R-MA). He voted no with the rest of his Republican colleagues.

That's it for right now. The snow in the nation's capital will keep this a quiet week in politics. We'll be back tomorrow, if we have power that is.

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