"Republicans said we can't vote for this or they'll say mean things about us!" Of course, it's just an excuse to do what they want to do to make big contributors happy:
The Senate effectively rejected a slimmed-down package of jobless benefits and state aid late Thursday, rebuffing President Obama's call for urgent action to bolster the economic recovery.
Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) voted with a united Republican caucus to block the approximately $120 billion package. The measure needed 60 votes to advance, but garnered only 56.
Democratic leaders, who had predicted victory less than 24 hours earlier, vowed not to give up on the measure, but acknowledged that they have no clear path to securing the one or two Republican votes needed to push it to final passage. Though the sprawling package contains a number of must-pass provisions, Republicans have been steadfast in their opposition, insisting that the full cost of the measure be covered by cutting existing government programs.
"Americans are frustrated with the amount of spending and borrowing around here," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said after the vote. "Let's not wave on through legislation that is going to worsen the deficit and dig an even deeper hole than we are in."
With midterm elections looming this fall, conservative Democrats also had voiced opposition to the size of the package and its impact on deficits, already driven to record levels by government spending to combat the recession. But congressional leaders have struggled to pare the legislation back.