U.S. President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs bill was knocked down by the Democratic-controlled Senate on Tuesday, as it received 51 votes but fell short of the necessary 60 votes needed to kill the Republican filibuster.
Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jon Tester of Montana were reportedly the only Democrats to vote against the bill. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., had made it clear earlier that he intended to vote in favor of ending the Republican filibuster, but that he hadn't any intention to support the bill if it reached a final vote.
Obama's plan would have combined payroll tax cuts for workers and businesses with $175 billion in spending on roads, school repairs and other infrastructure. It would also provide unemployment assistance and help to local governments avoid layoffs of teachers, firefighters and police.
Forty-six Republicans had joined with two Democrats to stall the vote on the plan.
Both parties were expected to use the votes as a political tool ahead of next year's presidential election, as Democrats have accused Republicans of failing to approve a measure that would cut high unemployment. In return, Republicans have said Democrats are trying to increase taxes, which would kill jobs.
The unemployment rate stands at approximately nine percent.
Earlier on Tuesday, Obama said the U.S. Senate faced a moment of truth when it voted on the bill.
This is gut check time, Obama told a union crowd in Pittsburgh. Right now, our economy needs a jolt. Right now. And today, the Senate of the United States has a chance to do something, right now, by voting for the American Jobs Act.
Republicans believe that Obama's plan is a stimulus, like the one made years ago, which they said didn't jolt the economy.
The legislation we'll be voting on today is many things, but it's not a jobs bill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said on Tuesday, according to Fox News. And Republicans will gladly vote against any legislation that makes it harder to create jobs right now.
But Obama intends to try again.
If they don't pass the whole package we're going to break it up into constituent parts and try to push them through separately, he reportedly told members of his jobs council.
Obama has also said that he was instructing his staff to proceed with job-creating initiatives and not wait for congressional approval wherever possible.
We're not going to wait for Congress, Obama said.
Laura is a U.S. politics reporter for the International Business Times. She was always fascinated by the BBC World News each morning on the radio in Jamaica. That, and a love...