As Senate Democrats struggle to get 50 votes for President Obama’s jobs bill, the White House is plotting its next move. Politico reports that the administration is prepared to work with Congress to break up the legislation and hold numerous votes on the resulting smaller portions of the bill:
“This will be the first act in a long-term play over the next couple of months to try to force Congress to do the things that need to be done to help the economy in the short term,” one senior official told reporters in a briefing Tuesday. “The president is just going to keep making the case that the economy is far too weak now, and we need to take action to help it.”
Obama confirmed the strategy during a meeting with his jobs council in Pittsburgh. “If they don’t pass the whole package, we’re going to break it up into constituent parts,” he said…
White House officials said Democrats and Republicans should find common ground on what they dubbed the “do no harm” approach: renewing the payroll tax cuts for workers and unemployment compensation for another year once those expire Dec. 31.
But the officials said the president will push Congress to go further and approve billions of dollars for rehiring teachers and police officers, rebuilding roads and boosting employment of veterans.
“We will be working with the Senate to sequence which pieces they break out and when,” a second official said.
Breaking up the bill would accomplish two things: 1) draw Republican support for some of the more popular measures, giving them a chance at passage, and 2) allow Democrats to hold an array of political show votes, which Republicans would likely oppose, designed to paint the GOP as ‘obstructing the will of the people,’ and so on.
Wonder which of those the White House considers a priority?