White House Defends Reid’s Jobs Bill

Posted February 12, 2010 at 4:26pm

The White House on Friday defended the jobs package being pushed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), despite Reid appearing to blindside the administration by offering his proposal right after the White House praised a separate, broader bipartisan plan.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that the jobs bill Reid unveiled Thursday has provisions that “will garner bipartisan support” and emphasized that it is just one of several proposals to come. He dismissed the idea that Reid’s move — which scrapped an administration-backed effort by Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) — was a blow to bipartisanship.

“I wouldn’t characterize it as a Democratic-only plan,” Gibbs said of Reid’s bill, pointing to a small-business hiring tax credit that was designed by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

Gibbs said he didn’t know if the White House was caught off-guard by Reid nixing the sweeping spending and tax proposals included in the $81 billion Baucus-Grassley plan in favor of his far smaller $15 billion bill that focuses largely on Democratic job creation ideas.

“I don’t know the degree to which Sen. Reid — who I see in media reports made his decision before it went to caucus — I don’t know the degree to which he talked to us about that,” Gibbs said.

Still, Gibbs shot down the idea that Reid’s move was a hardball partisan tactic, calling it “greatly over-reading and greatly oversimplifying what’s going on here. … I just don’t see it.”