GOP Senators Block New Spending Package

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GOP senators block new spending package Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said that he will pull a Democratic-backed economic relief bill from the floor after it was defeated for the third time last week.

The proposed spending bill would have provided $16 billion in aid to debt-ridden states, allowing them to avoid laying off thousands of government workers. If passed the measure would have also extended emergency unemployment benefits to more than 1 million individuals who have been out of work for at least six months.

In order to offset the cost of the bill, Democrats planned to increase taxes on investment fund managers and domestically produced oil, according to the Associated Press (AP). The unemployment insurance extension program, however, would have contributed to the already ballooning federal deficit.

Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) joined every Republican in defeating the measure, which fell three votes shy of the 60 needed to overcome a GOP filibuster.

"It adds new taxes and over $30 billion to an already staggering $13 trillion dollar national debt," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has said that President Obama will continue to push the Senate to pass the bill in hopes of avoiding a "double-dip" recession.

Meanwhile, the House passed a $6.4 billion piece of legislation last week that will delay for six months a 21 percent pay cut for physicians who treat Medicare patients. The bill, which was passed in the Senate last week, will now head to the president’s desk for his signature.
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