The Gang That Can’t Think Straight: 6 GOP Senators Vote For Jobs Bill After Joining Filibuster Two Days Earlier

Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

This morning, the Senate passed a $15 billion jobs bill that includes four provisions: a payroll tax break for hiring unemployed workers, an extension of highway construction funding, Build America bonds to help states fund infrastructure projects, and an extension of tax breaks for equipment purchase. The final vote for passage was 70-28, with 13 Republicans joining all but one Democrat.

Today’s vote only occurred because, on Monday night, 5 Republicans joined the same group of Democrats in order to invoke cloture and overcome a filibuster by a 62-30 vote. Below are the Republicans who either voted against or did not vote at all on the cloture motion, but flipped and voted for the bill today:

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

In addition to this flip-flop, all the above senators except Inhofe voted to sustain a Republican objection on a point of order before proceeding to the final vote. Plus, the Wonk Room noted two days ago that both Inhofe and Hatch were planning to vote against cloture despite the fact that the bill included provisions which they had previously supported. Inhofe followed through with his nay vote on cloture, while Hatch skipped the vote entirely, but both came around to support the bill today.

After the vote, Alexander said that he voted for the final bill “because it is modest.” “There are plenty of opportunities for bipartisan cooperation,” he said, which of course begs the question regarding why he couldn’t engage in bipartisan cooperation just two days ago if he supported the bill.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives, which last year passed a far more ambitious $154 billion jobs creation package. Earlier today, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) predicted that the House will pass the Senate bill as is.

Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.