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On Capitol Hill, Obama's new economic measures confront harsh reality

From Brianna Keilar and Ted Barrett, CNN
Democratic and Republican leadership aides on Capitol Hill say President Obama's new economic plans have little chance.
Democratic and Republican leadership aides on Capitol Hill say President Obama's new economic plans have little chance.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Democratic and Republican aides say economic measures have no chance of passing
  • Obama is expected unveil the plans this week
  • Democrats and Republicans are blaming each other for what they call an impending failure

Washington (CNN) -- Top Democratic and Republican leadership aides on Capitol Hill say President Barack Obama's two new economic proposals have almost no chance of passing Congress before the midterm elections, even though he's formally announced only one of them.

Obama unveiled a plan Monday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to push at least $50 billion into infrastructure spending.

In Cleveland, Ohio, on Wednesday, he will tout the increase and extension of a business tax credit for research and development. The White House says both proposals will be paid for, in part, by closing tax loopholes for oil and gas companies.

Doubtful that either will pass in the near future, Democrats and Republicans are blaming each other.

Video: Middle class a top priority for Obama
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"After failing to deliver on their economic promises for more than 18 months, the administration wants to do it again -- this time with higher taxes to pay for even more new spending," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said in a written statement Monday.

But Democrats argue that Republicans are being obstinate, trying to deprive them of any legislative victory just weeks before the hotly contested midterm elections.

"This is just another excuse to say no. We believe additional efforts are needed. Republicans do not," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

"Doing nothing is not an option," Manley said.

Republicans insist Democrats are not serious about pushing the economic measures because doing so would require significantly more time than the current congressional schedule would allow.

Congress returns from recess next week and will likely be in session for less than a month before leaving Washington for the midterm elections.

The Senate, where the legislative process has been almost at a standstill in recent months, has a number of bills to move, including measures to fund the government and set defense policy.

Democrats also plan to tackle the controversial issue of whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year.

 
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