According to Politico, Reid's "about face" on the Senate's planned new stimulus, er, jobs bill "stuns Dems, W.H.":
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid led colleagues and the White House to believe he supported a bipartisan jobs bill — only to scuttle the plan as soon as it was released Thursday over concerns it could be used to batter Democratic incumbents, according to Senate sources.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) worked for weeks with Reid's blessing and frequent involvement to craft an $85 billion jobs bill, a measure that seemed destined to break the partisan logjam that has ground the Senate to a halt.
But as Baucus, Grassley and President Barack Obama were preparing to celebrate a rare moment of bipartisan Kumbaya on Thursday, Reid stunned a meeting of Senate Democrats by announcing he was scrapping Baucus-Grassley, replacing it with a much cheaper, more narrowly crafted, $15 billion version.
"Grassley and three to four Republicans would have voted for it, but all the other Republicans would have beaten the living s—t out of us [during the 2010 midterms], claiming the bill was too bloated," said a Democrat who supported Reid's decision, explaining the leader's logic.
Now senate Democrats are worried about legislative bloat? It's hard to know how sincere Reid is about fiscal responsibility now, on the heels of TARP, the stimulus bill and health care reform. In any event, Reid is kind of an impulsive guy and it's not clear this move will improve realtions with colleagues across the aisle:
Few felt as good about the decision: Republicans say the about-face will only add to an already poisonous partisan atmosphere, liberal Democrats think the bill is too small to do much good and the powerful negotiators of the bipartisan package were left embarrassed, demoralized and befuddled. '
And Reid's decision suggests that things might be a bit frosty between Capitol Hill and 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.:
The White House also appeared to be caught off guard.
Moments before Reid announced his decision, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs released a statement, saying, "The draft bill released today by Sens. Baucus and Grassley includes several of the president's top priorities for job creation. [T]he president is hopeful that the draft language presented today will lead to a bipartisan Senate bill."