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Reid in no hurry on jobs bill

Is the president’s latest “jobs” plan — which includes billions of dollars in higher taxes on the “rich” — really just a cynical ploy to woo back progressives angry that Barack Obama hasn’t been “liberal enough”?

It certainly appears so.

“Pass this jobs bill right away,” Mr. Obama intoned over and over to Congress when he announced his proposal last month.

In fact, it now becomes obvious that Mr. Obama knew Congress — not even a Senate run by Democrats — would pass his bill at all, let alone right away. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid thumbed his nose at the president’s plea for urgent action. “We’ll get to that,” he said.

Ouch.

Why is Sen. Reid moving with all the alacrity of an injured turtle? After all, why wouldn’t he schedule a quick vote in an attempt to force Republicans to go on the record as opposing a bill the president says will put millions to work and jumpstart the economy?

It’s simple. Democrats must defend 23 seats next year, if you include the two left-leaning independents. Only 10 Republicans are up for re-election. Many of the Democrats running next year are considered vulnerable and have no interest voting in favor of higher taxes and more spending, even if it means going against a Democratic president.

In other words, Sen. Reid doesn’t want to touch the Obama jobs bill right now because he knows he can’t find enough Democrats to support it.

If the upper chamber does eventually take up the president’s bill, Senate Republicans would be making a mistake if they try to block debate. By all means carve out the less offensive parts of the legislation — the payroll tax cut, for instance — into separate bills. But if the Senate leadership insists the whole measure be put to a vote, let them put their own members at risk.

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