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Two pieces of the president's jobs package came up for test votes last night in the Senate and both failed. NPR's Tamara Keith reports.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: First, President Obama called on Congress to pass his whole jobs bill. When it failed to gain a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, he started calling on Congress to pass it piece by piece. And thus came the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act, a $35 billion measure funded with a half percent surtax on income over a million dollars a year. Republican leader Mitch McConnell called it just another bailout.
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL: For Democrats the solution apparently is to increase the number of people who work for the government.
KEITH: The other element of the president's jobs plan that failed last night was introduced by Republicans. It would eliminate a three percent tax withholding on government contractors. There's bipartisan agreement the withholding should go away, but the bill contained a cut in government spending that the Obama administration said was a deal killer. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin summed up the night.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Some folks in this town are so busy trying to make the other side look bad that they don't really realize they're making us all look bad.
KEITH: Senate Democrats have promised to keep bringing up other pieces of the president's jobs bill in the coming weeks.
Tamara Keith, NPR News, the Capitol.
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