The bipartisan coalition in the Senate that passed the jobs bill Wednesday is showing cracks as more votes on job-creation measures line up on the horizon.
Eleven Republican senators joined nearly all Democrats to send the $18 billion jobs bill to President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaGraham: Left is 'going insane' after Trump's win President travels again for meetings at Trump golf club in Va. Cotton: House 'moved a bit too fast' on healthcare MORE, who has said he would sign it.
GOP conservatives said the coming jobs bills look too much like stimulus spending.
“I told [Senate Majority Leader] Harry ReidHarry ReidThis obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all Sharron Angle to challenge GOP rep in Nevada Fox's Watters asks Trump whom he would fire: Baldwin, Schumer or Zucker MORE [D-Nev.], ‘Don’t count on me,’ ” said Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) when asked about the bills.
Bond said he voted for Wednesday’s bill, which included an extension through this year of the highway trust fund, because it was a way to shake loose highway money for his state. He criticized Democratic leaders for blocking him from offering amendments to the bill.
Sen. James InhofeJames InhofeRepeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate GOP senator: EPA 'brainwashing our kids' A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-Okla.) said he was able to vote for this bill because it was paid for, but he wasn’t hopeful the rest of Democrats’ jobs agenda would be offset. He voted against a nearly $150 billion extension of unemployment aid and business tax breaks last week because it would add to the debt.
“That’s $150 billion, of which $100 billion is not offset — that’s the difference,” Inhofe said.
Democratic leaders on Wednesday touted the passage of their bill as the first step of a “jobs agenda” that will feature bigger bills.
Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerA Justice Gorsuch will defend religious Americans from persecution Dem to Trump: 'You truly are an evil man' Dem senator: GOP controls all of gov't, so success or failure is on them MORE (D-N.Y.) said Democrats were ready to work with Republicans after Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-Mass.) surprise special-election win in January.
“The American people sent us a message in Massachusetts and elsewhere,” Schumer said. “It was focused on jobs, the economy, helping the middle class stretch its paycheck. Our answer is, ‘We heard you.’ ”
The next bill Democrats are considering would increase lending to small businesses having trouble finding credit, Schumer said. Democrats on Wednesday said they’re also planning a new six-year transportation bill funded through the highway trust fund, tax incentives for businesses and homeowners to improve energy efficiency of their properties and an advanced manufacturing tax credit.
Another factor constraining passage of more jobs measures is the Senate’s packed legislative agenda. Senate Democrats are planning to consider the contentious reconciliation package of fixes to the healthcare reform bill and student loan reforms next week. Democrats are also pushing an overhaul of financial regulations.
Republicans closer to the center than Bond and Inhofe left open the door to backing future job-creation measures “as long as it creates an environment for jobs in the private sector as much as possible,” said Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderOvernight Regulation: Trump's Labor nominee hints at updating overtime rule Trump's Labor pick signals support for overtime pay hike Live coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing MORE (R-Tenn.).
But he warned that Republican opposition to the use of reconciliation to amend the healthcare bill with a simple majority could slow down any legislation.
“The Senate is based upon relationships, and any time the Democrats jam things through in extraordinarily partisan ways, as they’re doing with the healthcare bill, they’re making it more difficult for the Senate to function, whatever the issue is,” Alexander said.