Politics

Bill Nelson Waiting for Final Jobs Package; GOP Foes Blast Him Now

By: Kenric Ward | Posted: October 4, 2011 3:55 AM

Senate Democrats don't have enough votes to pass President Obama's jobs bill, and Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is among those wavering on the measure.

"The president’s jobs plan has some things Senator Nelson favors, like extending and expanding the payroll tax cut. But it also has some things he’s even voted against before, like increasing income tax rates on people who make more than $200,000 a year," Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin said Monday.

"So he wants to see what the final package looks like after it’s revised. There’d probably be a better chance of something passing if the plan were broken down into smaller parts," McLaughlin added.

Sen. Dick Durbin, the chamber's majority whip, said last week that Obama doesn't have the needed votes in the Senate for the jobs bill. Passage will likely require 60 votes because Republicans would likely filibuster the bill. But even 50 votes might be a stretch.

Despite the president's impassioned and repeated demands last month for lawmakers to "Pass this bill," Durbin, D-Ill., indicated that some skittish senators are wary of approving a measure whose price tag is officially pegged at $445 billion.

Conservative critics call that a lowball number and say the bill's funding mechanism relies on an estimated $1.5 trillion in additional federal spending and tax increases.

On the other hand, left-wing lawmakers remain lukewarm to the jobs plan because, they say, it doesn't go far enough.

Two of Nelson's leading GOP opponents assailed both Obama and the two-term senator.

"The president's so-called jobs plan is so radical that even the Democrats can't pass it. That is because it seeks to punish those who actually create the jobs," Craig Miller said.

"Senator Nelson says that even he is against it -- we'll see. What Senator Nelson says and how he votes are usually completely different. My sense is that he'll vote how Senator Harry Reid tells him to," Miller added.

George LeMieux said, "While the president spends a great deal of time talking about his job-killing policies, Bill Nelson continues to remain silent about the plan. Nelson absolutely refuses to stand up to the president’s tax-and-spend style of governing.

"Silence is compliance, and it appears Nelson readily agrees with raising taxes in the middle of a recession and spending our way into oblivion," LeMieux concluded.

Mike McCalister took a more generic approach to the situation, without naming names.

"Government doesn't create private-sector jobs. It can, however, be an obstacle. Private enterprise creates jobs. We need less regulation, lower taxes and serious tort reform in order to level the playing field for American companies," McCalister said.

Adam Hasner's campaign did not comment.

Contact Kenric Ward at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 801-5341.


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