I received this e-mail from Jim Messina, President Obama’s campaign manager, under the title, “President Obama: ‘I will not take no for an answer’”:
Last night, the American Jobs Act was filibustered by Senate Republicans. There was no vote on the actual bill.
But it would have succeeded: the American Jobs Act has at least 51 votes — a clear majority — to pass the Senate. And a new poll shows that 63 percent of Americans support it, too.
Today the President recorded a message he wants you to see, laying out where we go from here in the fight for jobs.
The Republicans who voted yesterday to block this bill weren’t thinking about middle-class families. In fact, at last night’s GOP debate, one of their leading candidates actually refused to say he’d extend a payroll tax cut that puts more than $1,000 in the pockets of everyday working Americans.
They might believe it’s in their political interest to oppose whatever the President proposes for the next 13 months, but we know that when it comes to jobs and restoring economic security, Americans can’t afford to wait.
The American Jobs Act would get to work now, providing incentives for businesses to hire unemployed veterans, helping hire tens of thousands of teachers, cops, and firefighters, and rebuilding and modernizing our schools, railways, bridges, and airports. Even though it’s fully paid for and made up of proposals both parties have supported, Republicans yesterday said no.
Now the President wants you to hear directly from him about what’s next.
Watch the video — and make sure your friends do, too:
Now, let’s look at Mr Messina’s claim that “it would have succeeded: the American Jobs Act has at least 51 votes — a clear majority — to pass the Senate.” The New York Times story on the defeat of the bill noted that three Democrats voted against it: Senators Ben Nelson (D-NB) and Jon Tester (D-MT), described by the Times as “two moderate Democrats facing difficult re-election campaigns,” voted against it, as did Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who changed his vote from yea to nay as a parliamentary maneuver, to allow him to call for a reconsideration at a later time.
So, with 47 Republicans voting against the bill, and joined by two Democrats, that gives Mr Messina his 51 votes, right?
Wrong! If you read further in the Times’ article¹, you’ll find:
Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, voted to take up the jobs bill, but said that he opposed the measure itself.
OK, now we’re down to 50 votes for the bill, assuming all other Democrats vote for it, and with Vice President Biden to break the 50-50 tie, the bill would pass.
Except, the next two paragraphs tell you:
Senator Joe Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat who had expressed reservations about the bill, also voted to begin debate and to end what he described as a Republican filibuster.
“But let there be no mistake,” Mr. Manchin said, “if this bill does not change, if it is not improved, if it is not more focused on job creation and more fiscally responsible, I will strongly oppose final passage.”
Now we’re down to 49 votes for the bill, and 51 opposed. The honorable Mr Messina knew this, but he chose to deliberately lie to us and say that there were “at least 51 votes — a clear majority — to pass (the bill in) the Senate.”
Let me stress that again: President Obama’s campaign manager deliberately lied to us. I can’t say that I am surprised in the least.
Of course, the entire process was nothing but a political ploy. The Constitution of the United States specifies:
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.²
The Senate bill includes in it provisions to raise revenue, which means, to pass constitutional muster, it would have to have originated in and been passed by the House of Representatives, which was not the case. The President and the Democrats knew that the bill would never pass the Republican-controlled House, and never make it to the Senate. But they were not really interested in passing the bill; all they wanted was a political opportunity to castigate the Republicans, to say that they blocked the will of the majority.
So, once again, the Democrats lied to us. I wish I could say that I am surprised, but I’m really not.
¹ – You’ll have to go to the second page to find this information.
² – The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 7.
Cross-posted on Truth Before Dishonor