In your face, Harry Reid.
Reuters reports that the $56 million stimulus-palooza bill that featured Reid’s attempt to renew the oil shale ban went down in the Senate this afternoon:
The Senate on Friday blocked a $56.2 billion economic stimulus package that would have extended unemployment benefits, increased food aid and funded new construction projects to create jobs.
The 52-42 vote fell short of the 60 votes needed in the 100-member Senate for Democrats to clear a Republican procedural hurdle and move toward passage of the bill, which backers said would give the ailing U.S. economy a needed boost.
The House of Representatives plans to consider a slightly different stimulus package as soon as Friday afternoon but chances of any stimulus bill becoming law appear slim as the White House has threatened a veto.
The bill would have kept in place a ban on development of domestic oil shale deposits that expires next week.
The Democratic-controlled Congress passed a $168 billion stimulus package in January that relied mostly on tax rebates to spark consumer spending.
While that measure has been credited with contributing to economic growth, consumers have been hurt by rising food and energy prices, a higher unemployment rate and continued home foreclosures.
Democrats said the second attempt would help struggling consumers at a time when Congress is considering an unpopular $700 billion Wall Street bailout shortly before the November 4 presidential and congressional elections.
“What about the honest, hard-working, play-by-the-rule citizens at the bottom of this pyramid left in the ruins after years of mismanagement and outright malpractice by the titans of the financial industry?” said Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
Republicans said they did not have time to review the spending measures properly and the White House said the increased spending could lead to higher taxes or deficits.
This behemoth was a bag of old goodies that the Dems had failed to attach to past stimulus-palooza bills earlier this year. CQ Politics adds:
A $56.2 billion stimulus package failed to advance Friday on a procedural vote in the Senate after the White House threatened a veto.
Senators voted 52-42 to reject cloture on a motion to proceed to the measure, eight short of the 60 votes required to limit debate.
Like a related proposal the House was expected to consider later in the day, the Senate measure (S 3604) includes funding for infrastructure projects and state Medicaid plans and extend unemployment insurance benefits by seven weeks nationwide and an additional 13 weeks in states with high unemployment. The Senate proposal also would fund a variety of other items such as public housing, National Institutes of Health, Small Business Administration and law enforcement grants.
Even if the bill had surmounted the 60-vote hurdle, President Bush was likely to veto it. The bill “will not provide short-term stimulus or long-term growth for the economy. . . . Instead, the bill would simply increase government spending including self-perpetuating entitlement spending by tens of billions of dollars,” the White House said in a statement. “If this bill were presented to the president, he would veto the bill.”
That veto threat comes as little surprise as the White House and Republicans have been cool on the need for a second stimulus package.
The proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd , D-W.Va., also includes an assortment of other items, such as $490 million for Byrne grants, which go to local law enforcement agencies; $250 million for NASA to work on the space shuttle’s replacement; and $1.2 billion for the National Institutes of Health.
The administration took issue with a variety of items, including language that would reinstate a ban on oil shale development in the Rocky Mountains. The White House also objected to the unemployment insurance extension, food stamps funding, and aid to states for Medicaid programs.
The administration also cited as objectionable a provision that would have cut the price of birth control pills at university clinics and Planned Parenthood centers by undoing part of a 2006 deficit reduction law (PL 109-171). That law removed university clinics and private birth control clinics from the list of entities eligible for “nominal” pricing under the Public Health Service Act, which outlines a series of federal health program partnerships with states, localities and nonprofit schools.
Here’s the roll call vote: