Republicans are poised to deliver a death blow to a package of tax incentives and jobless benefits on Thursday, this after months of tweaks by Democrats to try to gain at least two GOP 'yes' votes.
Democrats, paring the bill back by $20 billion Wednesday night but kept about $35 billion in deficit spending from an extension of unemployment insurance benefits through November, a move that has one Democrat, Ben Nelson, D-NE, saying 'no' to the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, needs to round up 60 votes, and with Nelson out of the mix, he needs two Republicans. As of now, not one is willing to vote in favor of the bill.
Though Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-ME, who Democrats have courted for weeks, said she could support deficit spending for jobless benefits, her spokesman tells Fox, the senator was not able to convince Democrats to eliminate a tax on small businesses that organize as S corporations.
Democrats have maintained that they are merely closing a loophole to prevent abuses by wealthy business people who use the tax structure to avoid payroll taxes.
Sen. Scott Brown, R-MA, is also a 'no', according to his spokeswoman, Gail Gitcho. Gitcho simply said, "It still raises taxes and still increases the deficit."
That puts Democrats on track to lose an afternoon vote, leaving 1.3 million unemployed Americans without a benefits check by week's end.