Last night, two Democratic senators helped block a motion to debate and vote on the president's jobs bill. That hasn't stopped Barack Obama from arguing that it was Republicans in the Senate who are solely responsible for holding up his bill's movement.
"[E]ven though a majority of senators voted in favor of the American Jobs Act, a Republican minority got together as a group and blocked this jobs bill from passing the Senate," Obama said at the Forum on American Latino Heritage in Washington today.
The president's remarks echo a Tuesday email from Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, who said Senate Republicans were blocking the jobs bill "to suffocate the economy for the sake of what they think will be a political victory."
It's true that all 46 present GOP senators voted against opening debate on the bill. But Democratic senators Jon Tester of Montana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, both of whom are up for reelection next fall, voted with the Republicans, denying Harry Reid the 60-vote majority necessary to move to debate. (For procedural reasons, Reid voted against the measure as well so that he could bring up the bill again.)
The problem for Obama and Reid is that even if Tester, Nelson, and seven Republican senators had voted to move the debate forward, the jobs bill as written still would not have passed the Senate. Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman of Connecticut said on the Senate floor yesterday that he would not vote for the bill, and Democrat Jim Webb of Virginia indicated he was opposed to the tax increases laid out in the bill.