WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats in the Senate rejected a Republican bid to repeal a 3 percent business withholding tax set to become law on January 1, 2013.

The vote was 57-43, three votes short of the 60 votes Republicans needed to clear a Democratic procedural roadblock.

The action on Thursday evening came shortly after Republicans blocked a Democratic proposal to raise taxes on millionaires to create or protect 400,000 jobs for teachers and first responders.

The opposing positions underscored the difficulty of finding common ground on job creation, which is certain to be a key issue in the presidential and congressional elections in November 2012.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro)