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Obama jobs bill still waits for action in the Senate

From Ted Barrett, CNN Congressional Producer
updated 9:04 PM EDT, Tue September 20, 2011
President Barack Obama announced his jobs bill to a joint session of Congress almost two weeks ago.
President Barack Obama announced his jobs bill to a joint session of Congress almost two weeks ago.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Senate majority leader won't discuss when jobs bill will come up
  • Some Democrats oppose parts of it, Reid says
  • Senate Democrats say other budget battles come first

Washington (CNN) -- Senate Democrats still have not decided when to take up the jobs bill President Barack Obama announced with great fanfare to a joint session of Congress almost two weeks ago. In addition, they are still working to determine if they will vote on the bill in its entirety or augment it with additional job growth ideas of their own.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appeared testy at a news conference Tuesday when asked about the schedule for the bill and whether all Democrats would support it.

"Listen, we're not going to get into a lot of hypotheticals here," he said. "The floor is pretty well jammed now. The president's around the country making a case for his jobs bill. The Democratic caucus feels comfortable with his jobs bill. We're very happy with the speech he gave yesterday talking about deficit reduction."

Then Reid acknowledged some Democrats oppose aspects of the proposal.

"Does that mean we agree with every word of it? Of course not. None of us agree with every part of it," he said.

Reid was standing with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, who opposes the president's proposal to rescind tax breaks for oil and gas companies to help pay for the jobs program. When a reporter asked her if she would support the president's plan, she didn't respond initially and eventually slipped out of the news conference while Reid continued to speak.

Senate Democratic leaders have said for days they could not take up the president's proposal until they resolved ongoing legislative battles with Republicans over funding for highway construction, the FAA, FEMA and a bill to keep the government operating into the new fiscal year, which begins October 1. However, they also admitted they needed to sort out the best legislative path forward for the controversial bill they know will get little traction in the GOP-controlled House.

"We had a good discussion this morning as to whether we're gong to take the whole thing or not," Reid said. "As far as I'm concerned, I introduced it. I feel comfortable with it. But we'll have to work this through the caucus."

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