February 9th, 2010
06:27 PM ET
5 years ago

Senate jobs bill: What's missing

New York (CNNMoney.com) - Senate Democrats' draft plan for job creation, circulated Tuesday, contains a couple of employment measures and a lot of leftover business.

What's not included in the draft legislation is additional funds for states or stimulus money for infrastructure, which Republicans have said they will not support.

President Obama met with Senate and House leaders on both sides of the aisle Tuesday to push for a jobs proposal. The House passed a $154 billion bill in December, but momentum has stalled in the Senate, where Democrats recently lost their 60-vote filibuster-proof edge.

While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said lawmakers need to pass a jobs bill this week, Republicans were not so sure. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said GOP lawmakers need to know more about the package.

"My members need to be able to feel like they understand what they are being called upon to support," McConnell said.

The Republican leader, meanwhile, said he'd like to explore a competing vision for job creation that centers around international trade and clean energy.

The central feature of the 362-page bill is a payroll tax credit for businesses who hire and retain the unemployed. The measure, crafted by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, spares businesses from paying Social Security taxes on new hires who had been unemployed for at least 60 days. The proposal is expected to garner bipartisan support.

The legislation would also extend the deadline to file for unemployment benefits and the 65% Cobra health insurance subsidy to May 31. They currently expire a month's end.

The bill would also extend two stimulus provisions: A small business loan guarantee and the Build America Bonds program, which helps states and municipalities fund capital construction projects.

Federal funding for highways would also be extended. Contractors and some lawmakers have been pushing to reauthorize the six-year $286 billion federal transportation funding act, which expired at the end of September. They say this is more crucial to job creation than an additional shot of infrastructure spending.

The rest of the bill, however, covers business the Senate didn't address last year. It includes measures such as extending five dozen expiring tax provisions and credits, including allowing people to deduct state and local sales taxes from their federal income tax levy. It also extends many health care and Medicare provisions.

Also included are measures affecting satellite television, taxes on foreign accounts, and pension funding.

The Senate bill does not contain any assistance for states, which are facing massive budget deficits and looking to Washington for help.

Without more federal assistance, states may have to take drastic actions to close an estimated $180 billion budget gap for fiscal 2011, which starts July 1 for most states. These moves could cost the economy 900,000 jobs, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The House bill would take $27 billion in TARP bank bailout funds to the states to prevent them from laying off teachers, police officers and firefighters.

Also missing is extra money for infrastructure projects. The House bill would pump more than $35 billion in TARP funds into highways and mass transit, as well as $2 billion for clean water projects and another $2 billion for the building and repair of affordable rental homes and public housing. The rest of the infrastructure funds would be spent on school construction and repair.

Republicans, however, have said they oppose shifting TARP money to job creation. They also have said they don't think infrastructure spending creates jobs, in direct contrast to congressional Democrats and the White House.

One sticking point for the GOP could be that the bill does not address the estate tax, which expired this year but will return in 2011. The two sides can't agree on where to set the tax and some Republican leaders want assurances from the Democrats that this will be resolved soon.

While Reid last week said he wanted lawmakers to vote on a bill on Monday, a blizzard wreaked those plans. Another snowstorm on Wednesday is likely to delay the bill's progression again. Lawmakers take a week-long break for Presidents Day after Friday.


Filed under: Jobs • President Obama
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Apollyon

    These worthless Repubicans will do everything they can to defeat anything the Dems put forth, just like last year. Does anyone realize that the filibuster had been used more last year than any 3 years put together when Bush was President? Their whole objective is to drag the country down in the hopes that they'll be able to con the American people...... again. It's sad we have an awful lot of uneducated people in America, on both sides of politics. The one observation I'd like to point out is statistically the more uneducated you are, the more likely you are going to vote Repubican. If you don't believe that isn't pertinent information, I suspect you think Sarah is a genius.

    February 9, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  2. Rick CT

    Go snow!! As long as the government is shut down, they can't screw anything up.

    February 9, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  3. Stacie

    I'm so sad that we apparently elected a bunch of morons (I hope that's still OK to say). It's a bill, you know, legislation. I hope these guys can read it while they're stuck at home during the snow storm and find a way to "understand" what's in it. Geez, it can't be that difficult!

    February 9, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. Stacie

    Oh, forget it. They probably don't know how to read. Do you know how many of our elected officials don't even have a Bachelor's Degree?

    February 9, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    Republicans, however, have said they oppose shifting TARP money to job creation. They also have said they don't think infrastructure spending creates jobs, in direct contrast to congressional Democrats and the White House.
    ______________________________________________________
    Did Obama already forget his new stance for fiscal responsibility? Gee, it sounded so convincing in the State of the Union Address. I'm sure if people had a ballot box in front of them that night they would have voted him in all over again. He's going to reign in all of this out of control Washington spending!

    February 9, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. Sadie

    More stall tactics from the Republicans, what makes you think these conservative, old white men are going to do anything this president want.......they only want him to FAIL and they will do everything in their power to do it........but that's a big mistake......we will show you again in 2012 that we don't want more of the Bush/Cheney era..........

    February 9, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. ran

    I am so tired of the so call 60 vote filibuster proof the Democrats had when you had the likes of Lieberman/Nelson/Blue dogs all who did as much damage if not more then the fear/hate/obstructionist/purist republicans did to the process.

    When the Democrats get 60 true Democrats then we will have what we need to get things done. So if people are upset that nothing is happening then in 2010 vote for only true Democrats.

    February 9, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. Keith in Austin

    Stimulous II!!!

    What's missing? No way to pay for it!!!

    PLEASE stop the spending Barry!!! Allow the free market to flourish without Government's persistant intervention and taxes! The Government DOES NOT create jobs other than more people working for the government! AKA socialism!

    Innovation and Industry thrives with LESS government control, lower taxes, and the resulting financial reward. This is what creates jobs! Ask yourself a simple question: Did you ever have a good job working for a poor man? Bozo wants to PUNISH those who pay the highest percentage of taxes and those that employ American Workers! Liberal Progressivism has been a proven failure throughout history and Today! Wake up America.

    February 9, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  9. richeyrich

    When will Harry Reid and the rest of the Democratic Senate realize, the Republicans donot want change and will always take the position of "NO".

    February 9, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  10. D. Tree

    Republicans would rather have our country fail, so they can win elections.

    February 9, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. voter

    what thugs can't read? the hypocricy is astounding. when the thugs were in office where was the bipartianship. they never included the dems in decisions. they rammed everything though reconciliation. now that the tables are turned, they want a seat at the table, but only if their ideas are passed. This is not bipartianship if thugs believe only their bills should pass as cantor said yesturday in his ignorant letter to the president. the thugs can kiss my behind and the hell with them. dems should pass things through reconciliation which helps the middle class. it is about time that the goverment stop giving to the rich and help the middle class.

    February 9, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  12. Memo to Obama

    Memo to President Obama:

    "You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
    You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
    You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence.
    You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves."

    ........Abraham Lincoln

    February 9, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  13. Jimmy Sanborn

    McConnell and the Republicans=OBSTRUCTION. They do not care if we are hungry and out of work. They only care if they are in power or not. Down with the Republicans.

    I am a Republican that will be voting for Democrats and Independents because of the GRID LOCK that my party is creating. They are representing party and forgetting all about me and my needs.

    Obama did not have my vote in the last election, but will have it in the next if things do not change in the very near future.

    An Oklahoma Republican

    February 9, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  14. m smith

    the party of No is still the party of No. It is a good thing that the president has gone up against these obstructionist on TV so the country can see how they really do not care about the American people but only their political party. New polls show most people do want health care and jobs. These clowns will waste monthe so they can say they passed their bill. Wake up !!!

    February 9, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  15. Pragmatic

    "The Republican leader, meanwhile, said he'd like to explore a competing vision for job creation that centers around international trade and clean energy..."

    Those republicans have already exported almost all the good jobs to foreign countries already ... did you know your x-rays are sent to India to be read?

    Then there is the endless chant about the 'estate tax" ... which concerns about 1% of the wealthiest dead people ... no TARP money for jobs and infrastructure money doesn't create jobs ... bridges are repaired by who?? I usually see Americans working on the highways and bridges ... no way to send those job overseas!

    Tax breaks for the really rich and don't repair the infrastructure ... typical republican nonsense ...

    February 9, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  16. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    "What's not included in the draft legislation is additional funds for states..."

    That's for the simple reason that giving more money to the states does nothing to promote real job creation–hiring more useless, non-productive, government drones doesn't do a thing other than deprive working people of money they've actually earned.

    February 9, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  17. proud mother and sister of soldiers

    Reid wants this bill passed "this week". Why is it so difficult for the democratic party to realize they will only get support when/if everyone understands what is being asked of them. Is understanding what you are aked to support to much to expect? I do not want any lawmaker doing what Obama, Reid or Pelosi ask just because they say so.

    February 9, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  18. J.P.

    "Senate jobs bill: What's missing"

    Uh, let me go out on a limb here... uh, I'd say "jobs" are missing, Alex.

    Government does NOT create jobs, wealth and prosperity.
    Only the private sector does.

    Otherwise, if the government DID create jobs, wealth and prosperity, there would be NO NEED for the private sector. We'd just all be on the government's payroll, which is exactly what Democrats are shooting toward.

    February 9, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |