The Senate defeated President Barack Obama’s job-creation package on Tuesday in a sign that Washington is likely too paralyzed to take major steps to spur hiring before the 2012 elections.
The $447 billion package of tax cuts and new spending failed by a vote of 50 to 48, short of the 60 votes it needed to advance in the 100-member Senate. Voting was expected to continue for several hours but would not affect the outcome.
Obama, campaigning in Florida, said the vote was not the end of the fight for the measure. In a statement after the vote, Obama accused Republicans of obstruction and said he would work with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make sure that individual proposals in the bill would get a vote as soon as possible.
Though Obama’s top legislative priority is now dead in Congress, it is certain to have a long afterlife on the campaign trail.
Obama’s 2012 re-election chances depend on his ability to spur the sluggish economic recovery and revive the nearly stagnant job market.
The U.S. unemployment rate has been above 9 percent since May and almost 45 percent of the 14 million jobless Americans have been out of work for six months or more.
Even Wall Street is feeling the pinch, with a report from the New York State Comptroller showing that banker bonuses are likely to drop for the second year in a row.