Democrats decided to keep the vote open to allow Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to vote in favor of the bill. Shaheen voted for the bill just before 9 p.m., making the tally 50-49 in favor of the bill, a bare simple majority but nine votes away from the 60 that were needed.
Shaheen's vote would have made it 51-48, but at the last minute, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) switched his vote to "no," which gives him the ability to re-offer the bill later.
Democrats were expected to point to that majority as a sign that most of the Senate supports the bill, and that the Republican demand for a super-majority vote was the only thing stopping Senate passage. However, that was not expected to convince Republicans in either chamber to change their mind and support the bill, which they argue is similar to the stimulus bill that they say failed to boost job creation.
By Tuesday night, Democrats were already blaming Republicans for blocking a bill they said would help create jobs.
"Today's vote in the Senate further demonstrates that Republicans are pursuing an agenda that is inconsistent with the best interests of our country," said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). "Instead of working with Democrats to create jobs, they refuse to even consider a jobs plan."
"It is incomprehensible that Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would create 1.9 million jobs, provide tax relief for the middle class and small businesses, and help fix our nation's roads, bridges and schools," added Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). "At a time when our unemployment rate is 9.1 percent and too many Americans are still struggling, we can't afford any delay."
Failure of the bill in the Senate may force the Senate to rethink how it tries to move the ideas in Obama's jobs plan. The House has said for weeks that it would try to move individual parts of Obama's plan that Republicans can support, with the exception of the tax increases that Democrats have proposed to pay for the plan.
-- This story was updated at 9:06 p.m. to add Shaheen's vote, and again at 10:43 p.m. to explain the last-minute vote total change.