This vote was on whether to bring debate to a close on a bill that would provide payroll tax exemptions for employers that hire new workers, extend the authority to spend money out of the federal trust fund that fuels highway spending, and extend an infrastructure bonding program known as Build America Bonds, as well as other items.
Republicans had threatened to hold up his consideration indefinitely with a filibuster, causing Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nev., to file what is known as a “cloture motion,” which, in essence, is a vote on bringing debate on an issue to a close.
If the Senate votes to “invoke cloture” – or bring debate to a close – then lawmakers must either hold a vote on the legislation, amendment or motion in question, or move on to other business. This type of motion is most often called on contentious legislation where the leadership is concerned that consideration could be held up indefinitely by a handful of senators.
The bill is considered the first piece of Democrats’ “jobs agenda” for 2010, considerably trimmed from the effort Democrats were planning before Scott Brown, R-Mass., was elected to the Senate in a surprise victory, wresting Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority from them.
“This helps small businesses to pay less in taxes now, and thus meet their needs for cash in this difficult time. The American economy has lost more than 7 million jobs. And the unemployment rate is near 10 percent. We need to help people to get jobs. We need to do more to help businesses to hire more workers. The [bill] does just that. And so, let us help America’s businesses to create more jobs. Let us complete our work on this commonsense legislation,” Durbin said.
Republicans, meanwhile, argued that the bill’s spending was not paid for, thereby increasing the deficit.
“We can argue, I guess, about the relative merits of this bill. What we do know for sure is that $47 billion of it is not paid for. So it adds that much additional money to the deficit. We also note, for sure, the one kind of jobs this administration has been able to produce is government jobs,” McConnell said.
By a vote of 61-30, the Senate voted to bring debate to a close. All but one Democrat present voted to bring debate to a close. Of Republicans present, 6 voted to bring debate to a close and 29 voted against. The end result is that the Senate brought debate to a close on a bill intended to spur job creation through tax incentives and infrastructure bonding as well as other items. Though debate had officially been closed off, following a cloture vote the Senate must continue to debate the bill in question for another 30 hours before calling a vote on final passage. During that time, another senator attempted to kill the bill with a parliamentary maneuver (see vote 54).