It only took a couple of hours for the White House to endorse the new, bipartisan stimulus plan launched by Sens. Max Baucus and Charles Grassley yesterday — and a few minutes after for Harry Reid to kill it. The move angered Democrats in both the Obama administration and on Capitol Hill as Reid sent conflicting signals, surprised his colleagues, and might have touched off a leadership crisis if Reid wasn’t already destined to lose in November:
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.