The Corner

Durbin: Senate Dems Don’t Have the Votes to Pass Obama’s Jobs Bill

Since laying out his “jobs plan” in an address to Congress earlier this month, President Obama has not stopped urging lawmakers to “pass this bill,” and soon. Earlier this week, Obama complained that two weeks have passed since he submitted his bill to Congress, and now “I want it back, passed, so I can sign this bill and start putting people back to work.”

Only problem is, not even members of his own party want to vote for it. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) admitted this much in a radio interview on Thursday:

WLS Radio’s Bill Cameron reports his own party has delayed action in the Senate and talked with Senator Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, about the reason why.

“The oil-producing state senators don’t like eliminating or reducing the subsidy for oil companies, “ Durbin tells WLS Radio, “There are some senators who are up for election who say I’m never gonna vote for a tax increase while I’m up for election, even on the wealthiest people. So, we’re not gonna have 100% Democratic senators. That’s why it needs to be bi-partisan and I hope we can find some Republicans who will join us to make it happen.”

But so far, Durbin concedes Democrats don’t have the votes in the senate to pass it, “Not at the moment, I don’t think we do but, uh, we can work on it.”

It’s not exactly surprising that Senate Democrats are balking at the idea of passing a $450 billion stimulus package, which according to a Bloomberg survey of economists is projected to created just 288,000 jobs over the next two years. Some simple math, as the president is fond of saying: that works out to a little more than $1.6 million per job. Then there is his “plan” to pay for it, which Obama claims will reduce deficits by $3.2 trillion over a decade, but is actually nothing more than a massive $1.6 trillion tax increase.  

Not sure what Durbin is trying to say here. If Democrats are saying there won’t go along with any tax increases — Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), for example, said he’s cool with raises taxes on “rich” people, provided they don’t live in his state — Durbin can’t possible believe that there is any hope of “bipartisan” support. 

Just something to keep in mind the next time Obama demands to know why Congress won’t “pass this bill.”

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...