Cover Story: Obama's jobs bill - what's next? - | WBTV Charlotte

Cover Story: Obama's jobs bill - what's next?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Unemployed workers in Charlotte and the rest of the county stuck in the middle of another political battle in Washington.

The President's Jobs Bill is DOA - at least for now.  Just one day after the U.S. Senate voted it down, we're asking what happens now?

Workers here in the Carolinas are not surprised it failed given the current gridlock in Congress and cynicism around the country.

Regardless the state.  The refrain was the same.  Even in Raleigh four weeks ago Wednesday.

"Pass this bill," the president said.

Campaigning across the country hasn't worked yet.  Truth of the matter considering the way Congress is right now no one expected it to pass in its entirety anyway.

The Obama package is $447 billion.  The single biggest proposal is an extension of the tax cut workers are now getting on Social Security taxes.  And extending that tax break to employers.

Plus tax cuts for companies to hire unemployed Americans and move workers to part-time status rather than fire them.

But also in the president's package - public works spending - to be paid for by increasing taxes for many couples making more than $250,000 a year - unpalatable to Republicans.

It's why it died on a 50-to-49 vote keeping it from moving forward in the Senate as a whole package.

"There's discussion being talked about right now is to divide this bill up into certain components," says North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan.

Parts of the plan almost everyone can agree on.

And there's universal agreement on this.

Said Hagan, "We need to stop this political game playing. Stop this partisanship. Do what we can to help this anemic economy grow."

Which is about the same thing being said by the top Republican in the House, John Boehner.

"Our job on behalf of the American people is to find common ground and to do our best for them and we will continue to do that," said Boehner.

With the nation's unemployment rate stuck at 9.1 percent (it's 10.4 percent in North Carolina) Americans want something done.

"The difficulties that we are in now are historic in the sense that we have a problem of historic proportions," said Dr. David Swindell director of UNC Charlotte's Ph.D. in Public Policy Program.

The jobs bill was meant to be a compromise package says but in today's current environment that appears to be a dirty word.

"No matter who puts forth a plan it automatically comes with baggage," he said, "that this is somehow for your political advantage and not for the greater good of the public."

So where is the jobs bill now?

Aides to those in leadership in the Senate say senators could begin voting on pieces of the bill this month, perhaps as early as next week.

The President was back on the campaign trail Wednesday saying he wouldn't take no for an answer.

He'll be bringing his message to North Carolina next week.  He'll be in Asheville on Monday.

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