Fox has repeatedly suggested that Senate Democrats, led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), are opposing President Obama's jobs bill because Reid "is the one who is keeping it off the floor in the Senate." But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has said the bill is "dead" on arrival in the Republican-controlled House, while Senate Democrats reportedly support the bill, but want the chance to amend some provisions before it comes to a full floor vote.
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Fox Claims Reid, Democrats Are "The Only Thing Stopping This Bill From Coming To A Vote"
Doocy: "Democratic Leader Harry Reid Is The One Who Is Keeping [The Jobs Bill] Off The Floor In The Senate. Is This Political Hypocrisy?" On the October 6 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy teased an upcoming segment about the status of President Obama's American Jobs Act in Congress by saying:
DOOCY: And the president is blaming Republicans for holding up his jobs bill, but Democratic leader Harry Reid is the one who is keeping it off the floor in the Senate. Is this political hypocrisy? Or was this bill never meant to be passed? A debate straight ahead. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/6/11]
Tantaros: "The Only Thing Stopping This Bill From Coming To A Vote Are The Democrats." Later on the October 6 show, Doocy interviewed Fox News contributors Andrea Tantaros and Juan Williams about the jobs bill. Tantaros claimed, "The only thing stopping this bill from coming to a vote are the Democrats." From the broadcast:
DOOCY: OK, Andrea, let's start with you. There you saw the president, and he said why aren't they voting on this? Well, he was talking -- Mitch McConnell, on the floor of the Senate, said, you know what? The president is right. Let's go ahead and give him a vote. And so he said let's vote on it, Harry Reid. And Harry Reid goes "(unclear), this is a stunt! We're going to do it later." And then he tacked on a 5 percent surtax on millionaires. Democrats didn't have the votes for this.
TANTAROS: No, they didn't, and that's why Harry Reid had to add some liberal sweeteners like the millionaire's tax. Look, Mitch McConnell completely called the president's bluff. The only thing stopping this bill from coming to a vote are the Democrats. It's Obama's own party. They're running away from this bill, just like they've run away from the stimulus, just like they've run away from Obamacare, just like they've run away from Dodd-Frank. You notice that, Steve? No one ever talks about any of those wonderful Democratic accomplishments. So, look, I just, I want to know what the message is, though, coming from the White House. Is it punish the rich? And reward these Wall Street protesters? I think that's what they're saying. Let's coddle the jobless and punish the rich.
Williams later called Tantaros' claim "such a distortion" and noted that Democrats want a "change in the funding mechanism" before supporting the bill. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/06/11, emphasis added, via Media Matters]
But Cantor Said Jobs Bill Is "Dead" In The House
Wash. Post Blog: Asked If "Jobs Bill As A Package" Is "Dead," Cantor Replied, "Yes." From an October 4 post on The Washington Post's Wonkblog:
It's not much of a surprise, I guess. The American Jobs Act never had a particularly good chance of passing the House. But as of yesterday, it's officially dead. Majority Leader Eric Cantor isn't even pretending the two sides will work something out. "The $447 billion jobs package as a package: dead?" A reporter asked him. "Yes," Cantor replied. [The Washington Post, Wonkblog, 10/4/11]
National Journal: Cantor "Said Definitively Monday That President Obama's $447 Billion Jobs Will Not Be Brought To The Floor As a Package." From an October 3 article from the National Journal, titled, "Cantor: Obama's Jobs Bill Is Dead:"
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said definitively on Monday that President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill will not be brought to the floor as a package, despite repeated calls from the White House to move on his legislation.
"The president continues to say, 'Pass my bill in its entirety,' and as I've said from the outset, the all-or-nothing approach is just unacceptable, and I think from a purely practical standpoint, the president's got some whipping to do on his own side of the aisle," Cantor told reporters.
Instead, Cantor said the House will move forward on legislative initiatives in October in which there is some agreement between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue: making permanent the 3 percent withholding provision for government contractors included in Obama's jobs bill; passage of three long-stalled trade pacts with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea; further repeal of regulations restricting business; and a bill coming out of the Financial Services Committee that will increase small business owners' access to capital. [National Journal, 10/3/11, emphasis original]
And Reid Does Not Oppose Bill, But Opposed McConnell Forcing A Vote On It Without Amendments
L.A. Times: "McConnell Tries To Force Reid's Hand On Obama Jobs Bill." An October 4 Los Angeles Times article titled, "McConnell tries to force Reid's hand on Obama jobs bill" stated:
As the president in Texas urged Congress to vote on his jobs bill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell threw the Senate a curveball on Tuesday by trying to do just that.
"I agree with the president, I think he's entitled to a vote on his jobs bill," the Republican leader said on the Senate floor as he tried to force an immediate vote on the American Jobs Act by attaching it to unrelated legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused.
McConnell's move was a bit of Senate theater intended to draw attention to Democrats' division over President Obama's bill and Reid's refusal to take it up "right away," as the president has urged at rally after rally for weeks.
Democratic leaders have acknowledged they don't yet have the votes to pass the bill, and Reid said Tuesday that he expected the Senate to amend it in order to win Democratic support. Some Senate Democrats have concerns with the way the president proposed to pay for his package, Reid acknowledged Tuesday, adding that his caucus was working on a new set of funding proposals. Reid promised a vote before the Senate recess at the end of the month. [Los Angeles Times, 10/4/11]
Politico: Reid Said "The Only Objection That Senate Democrats Have Are The Various Proposals To Pay For Provisions" In The Bill. An October 4 Politico article said that McConnell "went for a little procedural trickery" by "proposing the bill as an amendment to the China currency bill that the Senate is considering." The article went on to say, "The only objection that Senate Democrats have are the various proposals to pay for provisions in Obama's jobs package, Reid said." From the article:
President Barack Obama has traveled the country to rally support for his jobs legislation and prodded Congress to take up the bill immediately.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's response? Sure.
The Kentucky Republican -- obviously opposed to the measure -- went for a little procedural trickery Tuesday, pushing for an immediate vote on Obama's $447 billion jobs package, insisting that every senator should go on the record on whether they support the president's bill.
"What the president has asked for is not parts of it, but the whole thing," McConnell told reporters Tuesday. "He's been critical of Congress for not giving him a vote. I think we should. I think he's entitled to know where the Senate stands on his proposal in its entirety."
McConnell tried to do just that later Tuesday afternoon by proposing the bill as an amendment to the China currency bill that the Senate is considering.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- who sets the floor schedule -- quickly objected. And then Reid tried to put the jobs legislation in the queue after the China bill on the Senate floor gets a vote. Then McConnell objected.
Reid criticized McConnell's move as political gamesmanship and renewed his vow to bring up Obama's jobs bill in the Senate later in October, as he did earlier this week.
The only objection that Senate Democrats have are the various proposals to pay for provisions in Obama's jobs package, Reid said. Though he didn't elaborate on those objections Tuesday, one example is repealing the oil and gas subsidies, which Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) opposes. [Politico, 10/4/11]