Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Battle Is on for Votes of GOP Senators on Jobs

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Battle Is on for Votes of GOP Senators on Jobs

Article excerpt

THE fight goes on.

President Clinton was expected to make a public case yesterday at a meeting with the nation's mayors for the passage of his $16.3 billion jobs program. But while the president continues to lobby hard for his stimulus plan, his approach has changed from sledgehammer bluntness to low-key pleading. Mr. Clinton is aiming to win over enough Republican senators to break the GOP filibuster against his package. Since 60 votes are needed to end the filibuster, the president needs to win the votes of three or four Republican senators (there are 43 GOP senators, but one of the Democrats, Sen. Richard Shelby (D) of Alabama, has joined their filibuster).

Six middle-of-the-road Republican senators are being targeted by the White House's lobbying effort: James Jeffords of Vermont, William Cohen of Maine, Alfonse D'Amato of New York, William Roth of Delaware, and Mark Hatfield and Bob Packwood of Oregon.

But Senate minority leader Bob Dole (R) of Kansas, leading the fight to block the jobs bill, dismissed the White House lobbying, saying, "I don't think they have peeled anyone off yet." Democrats win one

A series of by-elections being held for congressional seats vacated by Clinton Cabinet members is being closely watched by Washington insiders. If Democrats wind up losing many of those seats, it will be seen by many as a vote of no confidence in Clinton. So far, however, the president's party seems to be holding its own.

On Tuesday, Bennie Thompson, a liberal Democrat, defeated conservative Republican Hayes Dent Jr. 55 percent to 45 percent in the rural Mississippi congressional district once represented by Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy. Mr. Thompson, a supervisor from suburban Jackson, becomes the second black elected to Congress from Mississippi since Reconstruction - the first being Mr. Espy.

Meanwhile, in the race for a northern California congressional seat once held by budget director Leon Panetta, state Assemblyman Sam Farr won the hotly contested Democratic nomination. …

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