President Obama’s “Pass the Bill Now” plan looks like it’s on track to crash and burn in the Senate. Despite Sen. Harry Reid’s adjustments to the legislation, several Democrats still aren’t on board:
Democrats can only afford to lose two of their own and claim a thwarted majority. They appear to have no extra leeway because Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is a likely “no” vote despite calls last week for bipartisan action on jobs. It is unclear how GOP Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe will vote.
Assuming Republicans stay united in opposition, the bill is destined for defeat. The Hill reports Sens. Joe Manchin, Jon Tester and Ben Nelson are all currently “no’s” or “leaning no’s.” Joe Lieberman, who caucuses with the Democrats, is also opposed.
The question is shifting from “will the plan pass?” to “how bad will the loss be?” Several key Democrats, including Max Baucus and Jim Webb, are still undecided.
A failure in the Senate will damage Obama’s reelection strategy of linking the economic crisis to House GOP obstructionism. The president has promised to campaign against a “do nothing” Congress if they block his plan. But it can only work if Senate Democrats are united behind the White House.