In a blow to President Barack Obama, the US Senate effectively killed a jobs bill at the heart of his efforts to turn the sour economy around in the run up to the November 2012 elections.
Lawmakers voted 50-49 to advance the $447 billion dollar plan, falling short of the 60 senators needed to do so, in the face of fierce opposition from Republicans eager to deny the president a second term.
"Tonight's vote is by no means the end of this fight," Obama said in a statement released before the vote was over but after its outcome was unmistakable, vowing to move his plan piecemeal "as soon as possible."
"With so many citizens out of work and so many families struggling, we can't take 'no' for an answer. The American people won't take 'no' for an answer," said the embattled president.