By Alexander Bolton - 12/02/10 12:40 AM EST
Senate Democrats tried late Wednesday afternoon to pass several bills designed to spur job creation but Republicans objected to what they called a political ploy.
But Republicans stuck to the pledge to halt any legislation that does not address the expiring tax rates or provide stop-gap government funding.
Senate Democrats last month elected Schumer to head a new office in charge of coordinating policy and communications strategy. Wednesday’s floor debate was a preview of how he will handle that job.
“We have an economy that needs improvement and our colleagues have said they will not let anything happen, whether it be tax credits for employers who hire the unemployed … help for the energy industry, tax credits to help manufacturers hire people, unemployment insurance,” Schumer said.
Democrats attempted to move an extension of federal unemployment insurance benefits; legislation to encourage the construction of clean-energy homes; a bill providing federal incentives for investment in communities hit hard by the recession; and an extension of tax credits for employers that hire previously-unemployed workers.
Republican senators objected to each of the motions to approve by unanimous consent.
“Republicans have said that we believe the single most important step we can take to create jobs is keep the current tax rates, which will go up automatically Jan. 1,” said Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderVeep auditions in overdrive Senators press Obama education chief on reforms Senate honors Tennessee coach Pat Summitt MORE (Tenn.)
“Secondly, we need to fund the government. Funding expires this Friday and after that we can move to whatever else the Democratic leader would like to bring up,” Alexander said. “We should fund the government, keep the tax rates where they are, freeze spending and go home.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellCongress fails on promises to restore regular order and stop funding by crisis Overnight Healthcare: Dems dig in over Zika funding Business groups ramp up pressure to fill Ex-Im board MORE (R-Ky.) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOvernight Finance: Obama signs Puerto Rico bill | Trump steps up attacks on trade | Dodd-Frank backers cheer 'too big to fail' decision | New pressure to fill Ex-Im board Iowa poll: Clinton up 14 on Trump, Grassley in tight race with Dem Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton creates firestorm for email case MORE (D-Nev.) earlier this week calling on the Senate to focus on extending current tax rates and funding the federal government into 2011.
All 42 members of the Senate Republican conference signed the letter pledging to block consideration of any bill that does not address those issues.
Schumer made a plea for an extension of the Hire Now tax credit that he co-sponsored earlier this year.
“It’s been regarded as a success,” Schumer said of the legislation that would provide tax relief to employers who hire workers who had not had a job for 60 days.
Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsVeep auditions in overdrive Trump says he turned down offer to speak every night at convention Gingrich, Christie top Trump’s VP list: report MORE (R-Ala.) objected to the request to extend the tax provision by unanimous consent.
Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownThe Hill's 12:30 Report America isn't afraid of the NRA, and Congress shouldn't be, either Dodd-Frank backers heap praise on GE Capital decision MORE (D-Ohio), Tom UdallTom UdallThe Hill's 12:30 Report Overnight Energy: Senate spending bill takes aim at EPA rules Senate spending bill trims EPA spending, blocks regs MORE (D-N.M.), Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowWhat Senate backers aren’t saying about the GMO “compromise” bill Overnight Regulation: FDA raises concerns over GMO labeling bill FDA concerned with GMO labeling 'compromise' MORE (D-Mich.) and Mark BegichMark BegichSenate GOP deeply concerned over Trump effect Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium MORE (D-Alaska) asked for consent to advance the other jobs legislation.
Several Republican senators blocked the motions.