Tonight the Senate will vote for cloture on Harry Reid’s stripped down jobs bill. No one knows – not Mitch McConnell and not the majority leader – if Reid will have the votes (so their offices say). But tonight’s vote is exactly the kind of thing that American voters have come to hate about the Senate: the bill is widely bipartisan (the biggest piece is the Schumer/Hatch plan to give companies a payroll break for new hires) and should pass but the hitch is the process.
Republicans are angry at the way Reid yanked the Baucus/Grassley compromise and then blamed them for it. They’re also pissed that this bill isn’t amendable, meaning in an age where the President is all about bipartisanship this is a take-it-or-leave-it offer. But, will they vote against the $15 billion measure, which includes four essentially popular items across the political spectrum?
For all the bitching and moaning about Reid’s rather uncouth methods – trashing a bipartisan deal so painstakingly worked out over weeks – this week’s votes are lining up to be not too shabby for Reid. If Republicans give Reid enough help to pass the bill, Dems can finally claim a legislative victory. If Republicans vote against the bill you can be sure Dems will remind voters of this vote in tv and radio commercials all the way to Election Day. And, keep in mind, this is now the first of a series of such votes since Reid broke up the Baucus/Grassley bill into a bunch of smaller ones. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Update: Scott Brown says he’ll vote for cloture and the bill.
Update2: Reid gets cloture 62-30. “I hope this begins a new day in the Senate,” Reid says, adding he hopes now to move soon to a second jobs bill. “I look forward to this work period being one where we call all go home and say… we’re working together.”