Political Animal

Blog

June 22, 2011 8:00 AM Killing the Economic Development Administration

By Steve Benen

Congress isn’t likely to do much to create jobs anytime soon, so when opportunities arise, ideally lawmakers would take advantage of them. Yesterday in the Senate, for example, members were asked to reauthorize the Economic Development Administration, a successful program that provides federal grants to local projects.

There was at least some hope that Republicans could support this. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), for example, said yesterday of the EDA, “I have seen firsthand that it has led to the creation of jobs in my home state and has been a catalyst for private sector investment.”

Sounds good, right? Wrong. Collins, a few hours later, voted to kill the Economic Development Administration. Indeed, Democrats needed 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster, and didn’t even come close.

A bill to fund the Economic Development Administration (EDA), a measure Democrats characterized as a “jobs bill,” was stopped from advancing in the Senate Tuesday in a 49-51 vote.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was unable to find a path forward through nearly 100 mostly nongermane amendments offered by Republicans and Democrats.

Reid said the fact that only one amendment actually dealt with the EDA was an indication that Republicans don’t actually care about job creation.

In fairness, this wasn’t entirely partisan. Most of the superfluous amendments came from the GOP, but Dems had about 30 of their own. And while every single Republican voted to block an up-or-down vote on the measure, four Senate Dems gave them a hand.

But let’s be clear about what transpired yesterday: Republicans who’ve praised the Economic Development Administration for years voted in lock step to kill a measure that would have created jobs. They did so in part because they wanted to waste time on a bunch of irrelevant amendments and Harry Reid didn’t want to let them.

The result is the apparent end of a program that even the most far-right members have embraced in the recent. Hell, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), arguably the Senate’s most right-wing member, held a workshop last year to help South Carolina businesses and organizations take advantage of EDA opportunities. Yesterday, DeMint led the fight to kill the EDA.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said last month that funds from an EDA grant “would pave the way for the creation of new jobs and business opportunities, which will strengthen the region’s economy.” He voted to kill the program, too.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said just two weeks ago that an EDA grant would bring “a much needed boost to the local economy.” He voted to kill the program, too.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) has called EDA projects “key to our region’s future economic development.” He voted to kill the program, too.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) recently boasted, “I have long been a supporter of EDA programs.” He voted to kill the program, too.

It’s bad enough when Republicans rely on a bizarre ideology to stand in the way of good ideas. But what are we to think when Republicans won’t even allow a vote to fund a program they claim to like?

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

Post a comment
  • stevio on June 22, 2011 8:06 AM:

    Headlines will read:

    Democrats support bill to kill jobs

  • Mr. Serf Man on June 22, 2011 8:08 AM:

    If congress were a person it would have been long ago sent to rehab .Totally dysfunctional. However, we can not forget the number one mission of republicans . Make conditions in the country so bad that Obama won't get reelected.

  • just bill on June 22, 2011 8:09 AM:

    and when are democrats going to stand up and call them on this? when is obama going to stand up and push back against this crap?

  • c u n d gulag on June 22, 2011 8:11 AM:

    Well, in all fairness, what incentives do Republicans have to improve the economy?

    It would be refreshing if the Democrats were able to hang this around their necks.

    But, boys and girls, it's kind of tough WHEN YOU CAN'T EVEN VOTE TOGETHER ON SOMETHING LIKE thIS!

    Because, then, you see, you f-ing morons, Republicans can say, 'See, even these Democrats thought it was a bad idea!"

    This has been todays first example of 'Bringing sporks to gunfights.'

    More to follow, I sure...

  • SteveT on June 22, 2011 8:22 AM:

    This is the sort of news that warrants an "American President" moment where Obama drops into the daily press briefing, armed with numbers and the quotations that were citied above, and tells the American people that the Republicans are the reason the economy sucks.

    It's what Obama should do, but he won't -- because he's afraid that it would hurt the Republicans' tender feelings. And then they would start blocking everything the Democrats do.

  • j on June 22, 2011 8:29 AM:

    The trouble is that most Americans are not paying attention, if the economy sucks it must be Obama's fault - right?
    The media should be shouting this from the rooftops, the GOP should be shamed and blamed, we know if they regain the White House they will probably re-start these programs, then they will say - see -we are the ones trying to help the jobs situation.

  • Ron Byers on June 22, 2011 8:30 AM:

    Is it too late to primary McCaskill? I want to be able to vote for a Democrat. At least can I get a return of my contributions. I think she is engaging in false advertizing when she calls herself a Democrat.

  • DAY on June 22, 2011 8:32 AM:

    Term Limits are beginning to look like a viable road to a functioning government.

  • SaintZak on June 22, 2011 8:34 AM:

    The Republicans get away with these antics because the Democrats allow them to get away with them. There is absolutely no push back at all.

  • Perspecticus on June 22, 2011 8:57 AM:

    And as the evidence continues to pile up like so many dead Persians in the movie "300" that the GOP is intent on keeping our economy stagnant until at least November, 2012, the silence of practically everybody within the liberal media grows louder and louder.

  • Perspecticus on June 22, 2011 9:03 AM:

    "This is the sort of news that warrants an "American President" moment where Obama drops into the daily press briefing, armed with numbers and the quotations that were citied above, and tells the American people that the Republicans are the reason the economy sucks."

    Yes, because if there is one thing that has been proven to enthrall the American public time and again is Obama giving lectures replete with eight-by-ten color glossy photos with pictures and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against the GOP.

  • Daryl McCullough on June 22, 2011 9:07 AM:

    Every time the Republicans block a vote on a measure that is intended to bring jobs to the people, the Democrats have to raise an unholy stink about it. Let the public know who it is that is standing in the way of doing something about unemployment.

    The Republicans know that the American voters, being fair-minded people, will blame both sides equally.

  • Shelly on June 22, 2011 9:11 AM:

    But what has proven to enthrall the American public is Obama calling out the Republicans with a good thrashing replete with humor. More of THAT, please.

  • Blue Girl on June 22, 2011 9:11 AM:

    I didn't even have to look. I *knew* Claire McCaskill would be one of the four. She always is.

    You know what depresses the hell out of me? On Friday night, she was more pugnacious than I have ever seen her when she served up a plate of red meat to the party faithful at the annual Missouri Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. I guess she turned back into a DINO at midnight.

  • SteveT on June 22, 2011 9:26 AM:

    Perspecticus said:
    Yes, because if there is one thing that has been proven to enthrall the American public time and again is Obama giving lectures replete with eight-by-ten color glossy photos with pictures and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against the GOP.

    Has Obama tried this even once?

    We could end up with "just another case of blind justice". But on the other hand, it just might work.

  • bdop4 on June 22, 2011 9:58 AM:

    I can understand Johnson, McKaskill and Nelson's no vote. They're DINOs and a pox on them.

    But Klobuchar? She seems fairly reasonable to me. What axe has she got to grind against this bill?

  • Donna Rodgers on June 22, 2011 10:02 AM:

    I am so angry it is difficult to put my personel feelings into words. Last Monday night my son-in-law suffered a heart attack, he didn't make it, he was only 29. He worked day and night trying to support his family, he leaves my daughter and grand daughter. He was one who coudn't find a job, he worked on cars/trucks in his back yard. He would do anything for anyone, because of the economy many times he worked for peanuts. I blame the Republicans and the Blue Dogs for his death, and rightly so.

  • Mnemosyne on June 22, 2011 10:42 AM:

    This is the sort of news that warrants an "American President" moment where Obama drops into the daily press briefing, armed with numbers and the quotations that were citied above, and tells the American people that the Republicans are the reason the economy sucks.

    You do realize that "The American President" was a fiction film, right? It was not actually real. We already have one party that thinks we need to model our policies on TV shows and we don't really need both of them to flounder around wondering "What Would Jack Bauer/Jed Bartlett Do?"

  • Mark D on June 22, 2011 10:51 AM:

    Blue Girl--
    I, too, knew McCaskill was one of the four Dems before looking at the list.

    She puts on a good act when in front of people she wants to donate to her campaign, but then turns around and walks hand-in-hand with Blunt on vote after vote after vote.

    Just another example of why the "better" part of "more and better Democrats" is key.

  • zeitgeist on June 22, 2011 10:58 AM:

    That list of quotes about jobs and economic benefits by leading Republicans who then voted against the EDA makes the advertisement like shooting fish in a barrel. I've no doubt that the DNC and DSCC and AFL-CIO and MoveOn are already all over it and the ads will start airing by the end of the day while the iron is still hot.

    Right?

    Um, right?

  • Blue Girl on June 22, 2011 11:27 AM:

    Mark D-- That is one of my constant frustrations, and I have to keep reminding myself that she has to run statewide, and outstaters won't vote for libruls. Never mind they would be sitting in the dark and driving 20 miles on gravel to find potholed pavement if not for those libruls they disparage so much.

    Hey, why don't you join us for an in-person gripe-session tonight? I am hosting the KC Drinking Liberally meeting at Tanner's in Waldo, 7:00 to ?)

  • Mark D on June 22, 2011 12:52 PM:

    I would love to be there, Blue Girl, but tonight is band night -- and I need to beat on a drumset so I don't do so on the head of some conservative.

    ;-)

  • Cybrguy on June 22, 2011 1:43 PM:

    And BTW, WTF does nongermane mean?

  • ottercliff on June 22, 2011 2:09 PM:

    Please, can someone explain to me why Harry Reid didn't let the Republicans bring the Senate to it's knees fillibustering this???

  • yellowdog on June 22, 2011 6:46 PM:

    In answer to the questions about when Dems will push back, read Obama's speech from October 22, 2010 in Los Angeles. He has been making the case for his economic policies pretty consistently. If you want it in lecture form, ask Goolsbee to bring out the white board again. The Obama team has been trying very hard to get its message out. Why the GOP is not now mocked by broad sections of the populace as ridiculous and obstructionist for its behavior I do not know. They deserve scorn and shame, for the EDA vote among many others. Why do people not hold them to account? Their record is clear enough.

  •  
  •  
  •