President Obama on Thursday night failed to gain the 60 Senate votes needed to pass his proposal to fund states and local agencies with $35 billion to retain teachers and first responders. The bill was a piece of Obama's American Jobs Act, which was blocked by a Republican filibuster when proposed in its entirety last week.
The vote was the administration's first attempt at proposing the bill one piece at a time, a strategy designed to record Republican votes on individual issues.
The White House issued a statement following the vote, blaming Republicans for blocking job growth: "Every American deserves an explanation as to why Republicans refuse to step up to the plate and do what's necessary to create jobs and grow the economy right now."
But the outcome was no surprise. Senate Republicans began criticizing the bill's emphasis of public jobs over private jobs as soon as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., proposed the bill on Wednesday. Many took issue with Reid's statement that "the private sector is doing just fine." Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, called the focus on government jobs to create economic growth "plain ridiculous."
"We need to liberate the American people-our job creators and middle-class families-from too much government, too much spending, too much regulation and the threat of higher taxes that is weighing down the prospects of a real economic recovery," Hatch said.
A bill proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also failed to win a 60-vote majority on Thursday night. The bill, opposed by the White House because it would be paid for by spending cuts, would have eliminated a rule that allows government agencies to withhold 3 percent of payments to contractors.