In a 50-50 vote last night, the Senate voted down the first piece of a promised series of bills designed to pass President Barack Obama's jobs bill piecemeal. This first measure was a $35 billion state aid package for education and first responders. A separate Republican-sponsored jobs bill was defeated by the Democratic majority last night. The Hill reports:
The first measure, a piece of President Obama’s larger jobs package, failed in a 50-50 vote after two Democrats and Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) joined Senate Republicans in voting against moving to the measure.
Democrats Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) also sided with Republicans.
Nelson and Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.) were the two Democrats to vote against the president's full "jobs" package last week. Tester voted yes on Thursday's measure.
This bill, which most had not expected to pass, had been sold as necessary for public safety by unions and by Democrats like Vice President Joe Biden, who repeatedly said (or at least implied) that voting down the bill would lead to increased murders and rapes. Senate majority leader Harry Reid had said the bill could go toward saving up to 400,000 teaching, police, and firefighting jobs, although he also admitted that the money would have been left up to the states to decide how to use it.