In Dallas today, the president blasted Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) for the House Majority Leader’s rejection of an all-or-nothing approach to the American Jobs Act, repeatedly calling on Cantor to “come down” to Dallas to explain why he opposes the bill and urging the House to “at least put this jobs bill up for a vote.”
Perhaps he should have saved his censure for Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The Senate Majority Leader today refused to allow Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring the president’s jobs bill up for a vote.
The way Reid did it was a little wonky. McConnell planned to add the AJA as an amendment to the China currency bill currently under consideration in the Senate. “I wanted to disabuse [Obama] of the notion that somehow we’re unwilling to vote on his proposal,” McConnell said. But Reid “filled the tree,” taking advantage of his right of first recognition and adding so many amendments to the bill that McConnell was unable to tack the AJA to it, too. Reid then even went so far as to accuse McConnell of “obstruction” and engaging in “a political stunt.”
But, however he did it, the message Reid sent was loud and clear: He will do whatever it takes to delay a vote on the AJA, perhaps because he knows he lacks a filibuster-proof supermajority, perhaps because he knows support for the legislation will do little for Democrats on the campaign trail.
“‘Right away’ is a relative term,” Reid said, to explain why he’s untroubled by the president’s repeated calls for immediate action.
In light of the woeful lack of support for Obama’s bill in both chambers, how long will the president maintain the pretense of urgency he’s adopted to push the passage of his bill? How long will he pretend it’s a medicine with no unintended side effects for all our economic ails? He’s pushed the class warfare line for so long that he won’t be able to retreat from it without admitting he took the wrong approach to job creation in the first place. Given this president’s track record at admitting a mistake (say, for example, the mistake he made by appointing Eric Holder as Attorney General), that seems unlikely to happen anytime soon. Instead, we can expect more equivocation from Mr. Reid, more delays on the AJA and, sadly, no real solutions to the jobs crisis.