Senate Jobs Bill Stalled
Politico reports that Senate Democrats "will miss their self-imposed deadline for bringing a jobs bill to the floor Monday," and while DC's major snowstorm may have played some role in the delay, "it seems unlikely that Democrats would have been ready to proceed Monday, anyway."
Although both parties say Washington should be focused on jobs -- January's unemployment rate came in Friday at 9.7 percent -- Democrats can't move a bill without 60 votes, and they control only 59.
And while the storm made negotiations more difficult, aides and lawmakers say there were substantive problems, too -- and that the difficulty of reaching agreement even on a relatively small jobs bill, packed with tax cuts backed by Republicans, illustrates the tough partisan politics of the Senate as it moves toward the elections this fall.
Aides say they still don't believe the bill will receive significant support from Republicans.
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Despite the slight drop in the unemployment rate in January, "the government now estimates 8.4 million jobs vanished in the Great Recession. And economists say the nation will be lucky to get back 1.5 million of them this year. They also warn it will take until the middle of the decade for the job market to return to normal."
From the AP:
The economy is growing, and normally job creation would be strengthening. But the job market is weighed down by employers who remain slow to hire because consumers are not spending enough. Companies worry about their prospects once government stimulus aid fades. They also fret about possibly higher costs related to taxes or health care measures from Congress and statehouses.
As the New York Times noted on Monday, stimulus funds that allowed states avoid laying off many of its employees are now drying up.
Federal stimulus money has helped avoid drastic cuts at public schools in most parts of the nation, at least so far. But with the federal money running out, many of the nation's schools are approaching what officials are calling a "funding cliff."
Congress included about $100 billion for education in the stimulus law last year to cushion the recession's impact on schools and to help fuel an economic recovery. New studies show that many states will spend all or nearly all that is left between now and the end of this school term.