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 AlexanderGOP governors confront Medicaid divide A guide to the committees: Senate Overnight Healthcare: Trump officials weigh fate of birth control mandate | House, DOJ seek delay in ObamaCare lawsuit 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 McConnellThough flawed, complex Medicaid block grants have fighting chance Sanders: 'If you don't have the guts to face your constituents,' you shouldn't be in Congress McConnell: Trump's speech should be 'tweet free' MORE (R-Ky.) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSanders and Schumer are right: Ellison for DNC chair The Hill's 12:30 Report Hopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs 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 SessionsFive tough questions for Trump on immigration Issa: Sessions should recuse himself from any Russia probes Pelosi calls for DOJ probe of Priebus on FBI, Russia MORE (R-Ala.) objected to the request to extend the tax provision by unanimous consent.
Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownSanders, not Trump, is the real working-class hero A guide to the committees: Senate House bill would prevent Trump from lifting Russian sanctions MORE (D-Ohio), Tom UdallTom UdallA guide to the committees: Senate Senate Dems ask DHS inspector general for probe of Trump’s business arrangement Dem senators call for independent Flynn probe MORE (D-N.M.), Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowA guide to the committees: Senate Trump's pick to lead Medicare won't say if she supports negotiating prices with drug companies Overnight Finance: Fed chief tries to stay above partisan fray | Bill would eliminate consumer agency | Trump signs repeal of SEC rule on foreign payments MORE (D-Mich.) and Mark BegichMark BegichThe future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map Trump campaign left out of Alaska voter guide MORE (D-Alaska) asked for consent to advance the other jobs legislation.
Several Republican senators blocked the motions.