Senate GOP leader: Vote on Obama's jobs bill now

AP News
Posted: Oct 04, 2011 4:52 PM
Senate GOP leader: Vote on Obama's jobs bill now

Senate Republicans offered to give President Barack Obama the vote he's sought on a jobs bill Tuesday, but the Democratic leader, Sen. Harry Reid, objected.

"The least we can do for the president is give him a chance to have a vote on his proposal now as he has requested on numerous occasions," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said. "The suggestion that Senate Republicans are not interested in voting on his jobs bill is not true."

McConnell is no fan of Obama's jobs proposal, calling it a rehash of the president's 2009 stimulus package.

Obama, meanwhile, is taking his appeal for the jobs bill to some of the most Republican territory in the country. On Tuesday, he was in Texas, home turf of GOP presidential hopeful Gov. Rick Perry, calling on Republicans to take a stand.

"At least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where every member of Congress stands," Obama said in remarks prepared for an event in Mesquite, in the House district represented by Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling.

House Republicans oppose parts of Obama's jobs package and say it won't get a vote in that chamber. Some Democrats have said it's likely to undergo changes if it is to pass Congress.

As Obama was using his bully pulpit to cast Republicans as obstructionist, McConnell appeared on the Senate floor to call the president's bluff.

"Let me count the number of times _ one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12 times _ the president of the United States over the last few weeks has called on us to have this vote," the Kentucky senator said. "I'm prepared to vote on the president's proposal today."

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Reid, D-Nev., pointed out that the Senate has other legislation to handle before taking up the jobs bill and proposed instead setting up a vote on the jobs bill later in the month. He insisted that Obama's jobs bill will get support from a majority of the Senate even though several Senate Democrats have criticized aspects of it.

McConnell, his point made, agreed to discuss with Reid a later date for a jobs vote.

The back-and-forth erupted after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told reporters that Obama's jobs bill won't get a vote in the House in its entirety.