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Obama's Jobs Bill Expected To Hit Roadblock Today In Senate

<p>Job seekers waited in line to meet with recruiters at a job fair in Park Ridge, Ill., last month. </p>
Scott Olson
Getty Images

Job seekers waited in line to meet with recruiters at a job fair in Park Ridge, Ill., last month.

The political debate over what to do about the nation's stubbornly high unemployment rate and weak employment growth ratchets up again today when the Senate's expected to say no to President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill.

As NPR's David Welna reported for Morning Edition this week, "fierce Republican opposition both to the bill and how it's paid for leaves slim prospects of it going any further." The measure is unlikely to get the necessary 60 votes needed to move forward for a vote on its merits.

The measure has also run into opposition from some Democrats who "had big problems with [Obama's] plan to pay for it with tax hikes on households making more than $250,000 a year," David added. "So last week, New York Democrat Charles Schumer offered an alternative plan that significantly raised that income threshold. Schumer's plan imposes a 5.6 percent surcharge only on those whose incomes are above $1 million."

With the opposition in mind, Democrats are putting together a "Plan B," according to Politico and The Wall Street Journal.

"Behind the scenes," Politico says, Senate Democrats are working on "a series of smaller bills that actually have a chance of passing a badly divided Congress." Among the possibilities: Schumer "has been quietly courting some Senate Republicans and Democrats to see whether there is any appetite for merging a GOP-backed idea — a tax holiday for corporations to bring home their overseas profits — with a Democratic-supported plan of creating a national infrastructure bank. At the same time, Democrats are weighing whether to push ahead with other individual pieces of the president's jobs plan, like its extension of the payroll tax cut."

The Journalsays that "no final decisions have been made on the timing of any such move, nor on what aspects of the plan would be brought forward as individual pieces of legislation," aides to Senate Democrats say. "One aide said Democratic leaders may decide to hold more than one vote on the plan in the coming weeks to further emphasize Republicans' opposition to it."

Meanwhile, Obama will be in Pittsburgh today to push for his plan. And the President's "Council on Jobs and Competitiveness is laying out a series of policy overhauls sure to please and irritate Democratic and Republican partisans alike, from liberalized immigration and greater spending on infrastructure to less restrictive regulations and a more business-friendly tax system," The Associated Press reports.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.