Thursday, February 11, 2010

Baucus introduces $85 billion jobs bill (UPDATED)

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 2:10 PM

UPDATE: Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., killed the bill yesterday afternoon. "We are going to move a smaller package than talked about in the press," the Nevada Democrat told the press. More here.

Sens. Max Baucus and Charles Grassley unveiled an $85 billion jobs bill today that has a "bipartisan character" and includes tax breaks for businesses hiring new workers. The senators are calling for "sufficient time" to review the bill before any Senate vote.

From the Washington Post:

The $85 billion package — which includes a payroll tax break for employers hiring new workers along with a blend of tax credits, infrastructure spending and measures to extend expiring legislation — is the first in what Democratic leaders say will be a series of job-creation measures the Senate will address in 2010. The bill also represents a break from recent partisan history in the chamber, where the majority and minority have been loathe to collaborate on any significant legislation.

"We are pleased to present this bipartisan draft legislation," Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a joint statement. "We want the bipartisan character of the discussions that led to this draft package to remain as the package is considered."

Also from the Post:

The centerpiece of the jobs bill is a provision giving companies an exemption from paying Social Security taxes for the remainder of 2010 on every worker they hire who has been unemployed for at least 60 days. The proposal is popular among many lawmakers but has also sparked controversy, as some experts have questioned whether it will really create many jobs for its estimated cost of $13 billion over 10 years.

The bill also includes a one-year extension of the law governing the Highway Trust Fund, and federal subsidies for Build America Bonds, which help state and local governments fund infrastructure projects. The measure would renew several expiring tax credits, including the research and development credit, at a total cost of $31 billion. Unemployment insurance and COBRA health benefits each get three-month extensions, while the bill would postpone for seven months a scheduled cut in the payments doctors receive under Medicare. And the measure contains $6 billion worth of "timely, targeted relief" for private pension funds that suffered heavy losses in recent years.

Beyond the tax and spending provisions, the package extends the Patriot Act, the federal flood insurance program and a measure governing satellite television signals.

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