Jeanne Shaheen To Skip End Of Award Ceremony To Vote On Jobs Bill [UPDATED]
UPDATE: 6:00 p.m. -- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) will be in Washington on Tuesday evening to vote for the American Jobs Act, despite planning earlier in the day to miss the vote and attend an award ceremony in Boston.
She was present for the beginning of the event, where she received an award, and is returning to the Senate to vote on the jobs bill, her office confirmed.
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, will likely miss a Tuesday evening vote on President Barack Obama's jobs bill to attend an award ceremony in Boston.
While the bill is expected to fail, Republicans are trying to use it to show that Democrats don't support Obama. Shaheen, one of the 53 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, may be inadvertently helping them to do that -- even though she supports the legislation.
Shaheen's absence will mean the bill gets one less vote, perhaps fueling Republicans who insist the jobs bill is dead on arrival in Congress due to a lack of Democratic support. Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are expected to vote against the bill on Tuesday evening, while Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who generally votes with Democrats, has said he has some concerns with aspects of the jobs act and would like to have an opportunity to make amendments. The bill could therefore potentially fall short of 50 votes, a simple majority -- a symbolic but important number.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made adjustments to the original bill, changing the way it will be paid for, in an effort to win over more members of his caucus. But Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) has acknowledged it will not receive full support from Democrats, even with the changes.
If and when the bill is defeated on Tuesday, Democratic leaders in the Senate plan to split the bill into parts to try to gain more Republican votes, according to reports.
Shaheen is receiving an award from the New England Council at a 4:30 p.m. reception Tuesday. She is also expected to speak at the event. The council represents New England businesses and awards a "New Englander of the Year" for his or her work to support the region's economy.
The councilconfirmed on Tuesday that Shaheen will be in attendance, telling HuffPost the award-winner must be present to receive the "New Englander of the Year" award. Shaheen's office said she is willing to return to Senate if requested by leadership, and would vote in support of the president's jobs bill.
"The Senator supports the measure and told leadership she is fully prepared to return to Washington if her vote is needed for passage," Shaheen spokesman Jonathan Lipman said in a statement.
Sam Stein contributed reporting.