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American Jobs Act Of 2011—Motion To Proceed—Resumed

Under the previous order, there is now 5 minutes for debate equally divided between the two leaders or their designees prior to a vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 1660.

Sen. Harry Reid

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Mr. President, we would yield back our time and use leader time for a colloquy between the two of us.

Without objection, it is so ordered.

Sen. Mitch McConnell

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Mr. President, we have done a lot of sparring back and forth over the last week trying to get a vote on the President's so- called jobs proposal, and now we have before us cloture on the motion to proceed to the second version of the President's so-called jobs proposal. It strikes me it would be appropriate to try one more time to see if we could get a vote on the actual proposal. So I have indicated to my good friend the majority leader that I am going to ask unanimous consent that we vote on both the original President Obama jobs proposal and the revised Obama jobs proposal upon which we currently have pending cloture on the motion to proceed. It strikes me this would expedite the process. The President has been out on the campaign trail asking us to vote on his proposal and vote on it now without change. If that is a vote our friends on the other side do not want to have, we would be happy to have a vote on the President's proposal as changed, which I gather he also supports.

So bearing that in mind, I now ask unanimous consent that the cloture vote on the motion to proceed to S. 1660, the newly introduced jobs act, be vitiated, the Senate proceed to its consideration, the bill be read a third time, and the Senate proceed to a vote on passage of the bill, with no intervening action or debate; provided further that if the bill does not receive 60 votes on passage, the bill then be placed back on the calendar.

I further ask unanimous consent that immediately following that vote, the Senate proceed to the consideration of S. 1549, the President's job package; that the bill be read the third time and the Senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill, with no intervening action or debate; provided further, that if the bill doesn't receive 60 votes on passage, the bill then be placed back on the calendar.

Is there objection?

Sen. Harry Reid

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Reserving the right to object, Mr. President, everyone should understand, on Thursday, on this side we agreed to a vote on the President's jobs bill. There have been a number of things that have occurred since then.

We seek today, with this motion, to proceed to get to the jobs bill-- a good jobs bill. We seek to begin a legislative process. Senators from my side and Senators from the other side--the Republican side--have said they want to be able to get a bill where they can offer ideas to create jobs. I think that is commendable. That is what we seek to do to get on this bill.

I ask my colleague, the Republican leader, if he might modify his request to allow the Senate to proceed to the bill so we might begin consideration of an amendment to the bill. I also say, in response to modification, I have said to my friends on the Republican side of the aisle and on the Democratic side, as I said last Thursday, the President's original package we have talked about for some time. If people want to vote on that, they can vote on that. I think it would be to everyone's best interest to move to proceed to this so we can make this legislation even better than it now is. I ask for that modification.

Does the Republican leader so modify his request?

Sen. Mitch McConnell

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I have been trying for a over a week to get a vote on the President's so-called jobs proposal, which he has been asking us to give him repeatedly. Our friends on the other side are not only objecting to voting on the President's original jobs proposal but his jobs proposal as modified.

The practical result, however, of voting for cloture on the motion to proceed, rather than going on and voting on the bill, as the President has asked us to do on 12 occasions out on the campaign trail, is we will not be able to proceed to one of the things that is rare here--we actually have a bipartisan agreement to go forward on these important trade agreements, pass them tomorrow night, and then have the President of South Korea address a joint session of Congress. South Korea is one of our most important allies--probably the most important ally in Asia. Why would we not just want to vote on the proposal tonight? I am sorry we will not be able to do that.

I will continue to look for opportunities to give the President the vote he has asked for repeatedly--not a procedural vote but a real vote on the matter he requested.

I object.

Sen. Harry Reid

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Mr. President, I will continue to work with my friend to get on the jobs bill, so the Senate can work its will and provide to the American people jobs. I object to my friend's request.

Objection is heard.

Pursuant to rule XXII the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture.

The legislative clerk read as follows:

We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to Calendar No. 187, S. 1660, the American Jobs Act of 2011. Harry Reid, Richard J. Durbin, Charles E. Schumer, Sherrod Brown, Robert Menendez, Mark Begich, Barbara Boxer, Debbie Stabenow, Richard Blumenthal, Sheldon Whitehouse, Bernard Sanders, John F. Kerry, Frank R. Lautenberg, Jeff Merkley, Barbara A. Mikulski, Benjamin L. Cardin, Patrick J. Leahy

By unanimous consent the mandatory quorum call has been waived.

The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the motion to proceed to S. 1660, a bill to provide tax relief for American workers and businesses, to put workers back on the job while rebuilding and modernizing America, and to provide pathways back to work for Americans looking for jobs, shall be brought to a close? The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rules.

The clerk will call the roll.

The legislative clerk called the roll.

Sen. Jon Kyl

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The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. Coburn).

Are there any other Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote?

The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 50, nays 49, as follows:

[Rollcall Vote No. 160 Leg.] YEAS--50 Akaka Baucus Begich Bennet Bingaman Blumenthal Boxer Brown (OH) Cantwell Cardin Carper Casey Conrad Coons Durbin Feinstein Franken Gillibrand Hagan Harkin Inouye Johnson (SD) Kerry Klobuchar Kohl Landrieu Lautenberg Leahy Levin Lieberman Manchin McCaskill Menendez Merkley Mikulski Murray Nelson (FL) Pryor Reed Rockefeller Sanders Schumer Shaheen Stabenow Udall (CO) Udall (NM) Warner Webb Whitehouse Wyden NAYS--49 Alexander Ayotte Barrasso Blunt Boozman Brown (MA) Burr Chambliss Coats Cochran Collins Corker Cornyn Crapo DeMint Enzi Graham Grassley Hatch Heller Hoeven Hutchison Inhofe Isakson Johanns Johnson (WI) Kirk Kyl Lee Lugar McCain McConnell Moran Murkowski Nelson (NE) Paul Portman Reid Risch Roberts Rubio Sessions Shelby Snowe Tester Thune Toomey Vitter Wicker NOT VOTING--1 Coburn

On this vote, the yeas are 50, nays are 49. Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is rejected.

Sen. Harry Reid

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Mr. President, I enter a motion to reconsider the vote by which cloture was not invoked.

The motion is entered.

Sen. Marco Rubio

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Mr. President, I strongly oppose S. 1660, the American Jobs Act of 2011.

I am eager to work with Members of both parties to find common ground on policies that will help grow the economy at a time when our nation continues to struggle with high unemployment and low economic growth. To be clear, there are certain proposals in the American Jobs Act that I would support individually, including an extension of the payroll tax cut, allowing businesses to fully expense the cost of acquiring new capital, and a delay of the three percent withholding penalty on government contractors. These provisions would provide piecemeal relief to the economy.

Unfortunately, the positive provisions in the American Jobs Act are overshadowed by a massive $453 billion tax hike that would be highly damaging to the ability of businesses that pay individual tax rates to expand operations, hire new workers and compete internationally. According to data from the Department of the Treasury, 80 percent of taxpayers affected by this new 5.6 percent tax increase would be business owners. Furthermore, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that 34 percent of business income would be ensnared by the job- destroying tax increase in S. 1660.

Worse, if the 2001 tax relief expires as scheduled in 2013, this new tax surcharge would push the top marginal tax rate to nearly 50 percent when accounting for the new 3.8 percent Medicare tax on unearned income in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It would also sharply increase taxes on capital gains and dividends investment, hurting small businesses and investors.

Small businesses have been burdened by more than $1 trillion new taxes and penalties in the health care law and regulatory agencies have churned out over 60,000 pages of new Federal regulations this calendar year alone. Simply put, they cannot afford the burden of another tax hike from Washington under the guise of job creation.

This is why the Nation's leading business groups representing millions of American business owners, including the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Association of Manufacturers, all strongly oppose the permanent tax hike in S. 1660. This is why a growing group of Democrats vocally oppose this legislation, and why I oppose proceeding to it.

Since I joined the Senate 9 months ago, I have maintained my strong belief that Democrats and Republicans should work together to pass policies proven to boost economic growth like progrowth tax and regulatory reform, lowering barriers to free trade, and cutting spending to avert our looming debt crisis. Unfortunately, the huge tax increases on job creators and more debt-financed stimulus spending in the American Jobs Act would move our Nation in squarely the wrong direction.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

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Mr. President, this evening, I cast my vote in favor of the Senate moving forward with critical job-creation legislation. With 61,000 Rhode Islanders and millions of Americans currently looking for jobs, we must take swift action to help put people back to work. Sadly, as they have all-too-many times this Congress, Republicans chose to obstruct our efforts by blocking us from even debating the American Jobs Act.

This filibuster is particularly disappointing because the American Jobs Act, as introduced in the Senate by Leader Reid, represents a balanced and already-tested approach to job creation. Indeed, the bill includes a host of provisions that have received wide bipartisan support in the past. It may not be the exact bill each of us would draft on our own, but it is a thoughtful and reasonable place to begin working on a Senate jobs plan.

I say the bill is ``balanced'' because it includes a full range of job-creating provisions from tax credits to help businesses hire, to infrastructure programs that will put people to work updating and upgrading our roads, bridges, and schools.

In addition to being ``balanced,'' I say the American Jobs Act is ``tested'' because it includes programs that have worked in the past. For example, the Federal Highway Administration estimated that $1 billion invested in our highways supports about 28,000 jobs. That means that the President's proposed investment of $27 billion would generate or save over 750,000 jobs. In addition to the upfront investment, the bill would deposit another $10 billion in a National Infrastructure Bank which could leverage the money with private investments to create hundreds of thousands of additional jobs. We know how well the National Infrastructure Bank would work from the experiences of local revolving funds like Rhode Island's Clean Water Finance Agency.

We also know that funds provided by the bill would prevent hundreds of thousands of teachers, police officers, and firefighters from losing their jobs. According to the Department of Education, $10 billion in emergency funds provided last summer have already spared 114,000 teachers' jobs. The $35 billion included in the American Jobs Act would keep hundreds of thousands of additional teachers and first responders from getting pink slips. A lot of small businesses count on teachers and firefighters and police officers with paychecks coming in to do business.

We are not just talking about statistics in this debate. The millions of jobs that would be created or preserved under the American Jobs Act would hit home for families who have been trying to find work for so long.

Just last week, I held a telephone town hall with Rhode Islanders from all across our State. We took questions from folks on issues from jobs to the future of Medicare and Social Security. There was one call in particular that really stuck with me. It was from a woman named Diane in Narragansett. Diane, a Marine veteran, and her husband are both out of work and struggling to put food on the table for their three young children. Her husband a trained heavy equipment operator and welder has taken temporary employment as a landscaper and a fisherman, but can not find a steady paycheck. They have missed bill payments and have struggled to keep a roof over their heads. On the call Diane said, ``[o]ur dream of owning a house is shot out the window . . . [We] don't know where to go [We] don't know what else to do.'' Diane and her husband are hardworking people doing their best to survive in a frustratingly sluggish economic recovery. They are just asking for a fair chance to provide for their kids and reclaim their portion of the American dream. We owe it to Diane and her family to set aside our differences and focus on getting something done to create jobs for the American people. It is not too late for us to work together to help solve our Nation's jobs crisis. Let us cut the politics and delay tactics and begin that critical work.