Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Many Congressional Democrats Are Balking at Obama’s Jobs Bill

From the New York Times:
President Obama anticipated Republican resistance to his jobs program, but he is now meeting increasing pushback from his own party. Many Congressional Democrats, smarting from the fallout over the 2009 stimulus bill, say there is little chance they will be able to support the bill as a single entity, citing an array of elements they cannot abide.

“I think the American people are very skeptical of big pieces of legislation,” Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, said in an interview Wednesday, joining a growing chorus of Democrats who prefer an à la carte version of the bill despite White House resistance to that approach. “For that reason alone I think we should break it up.”

Senator Harry Reid..., the majority leader, has said he will put the bill on the legislative calendar but... [he] has set votes on disaster aid, extensions for the Federal Aviation Administration and a short-term spending plan ahead of the jobs bill.

Democrats... are divided over their objections, which stem from Mr. Obama’s sinking popularity in polls, parochial concerns and the party’s chronic inability to unite around a legislative initiative, even in the face of Republican opposition.

Some are unhappy about the specific types of companies, particularly the oil industry, that would lose tax benefits. “I have said for months that I am not supporting a repeal of tax cuts for the oil industry unless there are other industries that contribute,” said Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana.

A small but vocal group dislikes the payroll tax cuts for employees and small businesses. “I have been very unequivocal,” said Representative Peter A. DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon. “No more tax cuts.”...

There are also Democrats, some of them senators up for election in 2012, who oppose the bill simply for its mental connection to the stimulus bill, which laid at least part of the foundation for the Republican takeover of the House in 2010.

“I have serious questions about the level of spending that President Obama proposed,” said Senator Joe Manchin III, a Democrat from West Virginia... Mr. Manchin said he also questioned “the actual effectiveness some of these policies will have when it comes to creating jobs and restoring confidence in our economy.”

...Mr. Reid, who is known for trying to protect Democrats from casting tough votes, may be delaying the bill to insulate his party...

As he barnstormed again on Wednesday, Mr. Obama told voters in North Carolina, “If you love me, you’ve got to help me pass this bill,” but even some members of Congress from that state may prefer to stay just friends...