With the yet another congressional recess approaching, Congress missed another chance Thursday night to approve $1 billion in federal summer jobs program funding, and now the outlook is dim for the money to be approved before Labor Day.
The summer jobs money is caught up in a $100-billion package of jobs and economic relief provisions, which failed to get the necessary 60 votes to prevent a Republican filibuster. Republicans oppose the package, which includes an extension of unemployment benefits and aid to cash-poor states, on the basis that the bill adds too much to the deficit.
After several days of negotiations with Republicans, frustrated Senate Democrats pulled the bill from the floor today and turned to small business legislation instead.
Congressional sources said parts of the bill, including the summer jobs money, could be revived, perhaps as part of a different piece of legislation, but there are only four legislative days remaining before Congress leaves for the July 4 holiday recess. When Congress returns, it faces an already crowded calendar as it begins its push toward the August recess.
Senate Democrats sought to blame Republicans for trying to score political points in advance of the fall elections. Several leaders told reporters that despite their frustration, they probably would try again to get a bill passed, but planned to let some of the heat go out of the issue beforehand. That points to consideration in July at the earliest, and more likely September.