Shaheen to fly in for jobs vote

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire will travel back to Washington on Tuesday night to vote on President Obama's jobs bill. 

In a message on Twitter, Shaheen said she was "proud to support efforts to put Americans back to work" and would be in Washington, D.C., to vote for the jobs bill. Shaheen was scheduled to accept a "New Englander of the Year" award on Tuesday night from the New England Council in Boston. 

Senate Democrats could keep the vote open for some time to ensure Shaheen casts a vote. 

Her absence would have made Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) quest to gain a majority of senators on the bill even harder. Tuesday’s vote — with a threshold of 60 votes — is to cut off debate on the motion to proceed to the bill. 

With Republicans apparently united in opposition, Reid can afford to lose only two of his own and still claim that a majority of senators support the president’s tax and stimulus bill.

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Shaheen spokesman Jonathan Lipman earlier on Tuesday said Shaheen, a yes vote, would show up if her vote was necessary for passage.

“The senator has told leadership that she is fully prepared to be here tonight if her vote is needed for passage,” Lipman said.

Passage is not the issue, since 60 votes are out of the question. But it's possible Democrats fear they will not win 51 votes, which would be symbolically important, without her.

Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) are almost certain to vote against the cloture vote but had not firmly decided as of Monday. They could, like Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), vote to open debate while vowing to vote against final passage if it ever came to that. 

Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) are other possible defectors on the vote.


—This story was posted at 1:04 and updated at 6:08 p.m.