All 41 Senate Republicans yesterday filibustered a jobs package comprised largely of tax cuts.
You read that right. Republicans filibustered tax cuts.
By the GOP’s own admission, the underlying legislation has broad bipartisan support. It would create a $30 billion Treasury-backed fund to help community banks issue loans to small businesses and provide entrepreneurs with $12 billion in tax cuts — a Republican kind of bill if ever there was one.
But Republicans had been threatening for weeks to stop it, unless they were offered a chance to offer amendments on issues like border security, capping federal spending, and the estate tax — all of which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid held to be non-germane to the issue of job creation. Many of them also objected to a provision added to the bill that would have provided disaster and agriculture relief funding.
Faced with a choice between allowing the Republicans to successfully block the bill, and making concessions, Reid stripped the relief funding and offered Republicans the chance to offer three amendments.
That wasn’t enough either.
“I think we’re getting closer,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered. “[Reid] and I can continue to try to unsnarl this.”
“There’s nothing to unsnarl,” Reid fired back.
The impasse led to a testy exchange between the bill’s chief sponsor, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and McConnell, who ultimately cut her off by forcing a scheduled vote on ending the filibuster. All Republicans, even those who support the jobs package itself, voted no. Reid switched his vote from yes to no — a procedural maneuver that will allow him to hold a revote when he chooses. But that likely won’t happen until next week, after the House of Representatives has adjourned for August recess.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.