Nov 3, 2011 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
The Senate shot down another piece of President Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill Thursday, as a stalemated Congress goes through the motions of attempting legislation to spur economic growth largely as a mechanism to allow each party to blame the other for the failure to act.
The chamber failed to advance a measure to spend $50 billion on highway, rail, transit and airport improvements and another $10 billion as seed money for an infrastructure bank designed to spark private investment in construction. The vote was 51 to 49 in favor, but the measure needed 60 votes to proceed to a full debate.
The failure came in advance of a jobs report due out Friday morning that will show the trajectory of the job market in the final quarter of the year. So far, there are signs that employers are shrugging off the ill effects of Europe’s troubles and volatile financial markets and are continuing to hire at a gradual pace. The September unemployment report relieved concerns about massive waves of layoffs, and last week the Commerce Department said the economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the summer months, its fastest clip in a year.
The Labor Department also reported Thursday that the number of people filing new claims for unemployment insurance benefits fell last week to 397,000, from a revised 406,000 the previous week. That was the lowest level in five weeks. Also Thursday, a survey from the Institute for Supply Management on activity at the nation’s service businesses was little changed, at 52.9 in October compared with 53 in September. Numbers above 50 indicate expansion.