February 23rd, 2010
02:12 PM ET
13 years ago

Reid calls on Senate to pass jobs bill soon

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/09/art.reid0209.gi.jpg caption="Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that the Senate must vote soon on the jobs bill."]

Washington (CNN) - The Senate could vote on the jobs bill as soon as Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.

"I'm hopeful and confident we can work out a reasonable time to vote on this," the Nevada Democrat said Tuesday. "Otherwise, we'll have to do it really late tonight or very early in the morning."

Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the Cook Political Report, said that both parties and both chambers have "incentive to get something done" soon.

Peter Beinart, a scholar at the non-partisan New America Foundation, added that it's nearly impossible for Republicans to vote against a bill helping Americans save or pick up jobs.

"It's kinda extraordinary that you have this permanent filibuster against everything – even stuff like jobs, which should be less controversial than health care," he said.

On Monday, the Senate passed a key procedural vote to push the $15 billion jobs bill to a vote. Five Republicans - including newly minted Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts - aligned with Democrats to pass the bill 62-30. Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska, was the sole Democrat to vote against it.

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The Senate bill is a scaled down version of an $85 billion draft bill that was later scrapped for Reid's $15 billion plan. The bill exempts employers from Social Security payroll taxes on new hires who were unemployed; funds highway and transit programs through 2010; extends a tax break for businesses that spend money on investments, such as equipment purchases, among other items.

The bill, however, does not extend the deadline to apply for unemployment benefits and the COBRA health insurance subsidy. The House, in passing its $154 billion bill last year, included $79 billion in funding to extend unemployment benefits and a COBRA extension.

On Tuesday, Reid said he would be "asking consent" by the Senate for a separate bill calling for a 30-day extension for "expiring tax provisions, including unemployment insurance, COBRA, flood insurance and a number of other important issues."

If something isn't done, around 1.2 million Americans will run out of benefits after February 28.

"The first critical battle will be between Senate and House Democrats, especially on many of the issues like COBRA," Duffy said. "If Democrats can come to agreement, then Republicans will look at the result and make a judgment about whether they can support it."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that he spoke with Reid about the extensions on unemployment insurance and COBRA. He indicated that the House could pass the Senate jobs bill without going to conference. But he also said it's "accurate to say there will be disagreements."

Reid also said Tuesday that he's working on the next jobs bill, which would be "a small business package ... a very very robust program" that will be bipartisan, just like the current bill. Reid said he hopes to have it done before Easter.

One key differences also to be hashed out between the two chambers includes helps for struggling states. The House bill provides $23 billion to states in order to save or create an estimated 250,000 education jobs over the next two years. It would also fund positions for $5,000 cops - and would provide money to hire and retain firefighters.

–CNNMoney Senior Writer Tami Luhby, along with CNN Congressional Producers Ted Barrett and Deirdre Walsh, contributed to this report.

Filed under: Harry Reid • House • Jobs • Senate
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Wouldn't it be a great headline that said "REID CALLS FOR TAX DECREASE FOR WORKING AMERICANS" I know it will never happen, but it sure would be nice. So far all I have seen is him calling those of us working americans who want lower taxes is "an unpatriotic mob." So I will continue to wear that banner proudly against the likes of Dingy Harry.

    February 23, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Mark

    This won't last. I have ZERO faith in our government to join together and pass anything. Why? Because of the Republicans. Can't argue with their track record and their own words to block everything they can. We have an outdated system. IT IS BROKEN.

    February 23, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. ATL Guy

    The Republicans are pandering to a very narrow but ignorant and vocal segment of their base. Their vote against everything sounds like good politics to them and may help them get back into office. But when it comes to legislating, America will dump them faster than a bad cold.

    February 23, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. Democrats for the Next 20-Years

    Please pass the unemployment extention – NOW. The deadline is SUNDAY Feb 28 , 2010.

    Can someone explain if that taxcut for hiring an unemployed person, If it wil affect the company's match they must pay into Social Security and unemployment benefots for that person, in case they get laid off again person's

    I posted a comment a few says ago that Sen Scott Brown would vote as the 60th w/Democrats, moreso than 41st w/Republicans.

    I was right!!!

    February 23, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. james

    This will create about as many jobs as a Great Dane.

    February 23, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Terry from West Texas

    "It's kinda extraordinary that you have this permanent filibuster against everything – even stuff like jobs, which should be less controversial than health care," he said.

    What is difficult to understand. America's Conservative leadership wants to be in power and they want to advance their agenda. Their strategy is simple and consists of only two principles.

    1. Paralyze government when Conservatives are not in power. No agenda that is not theirs may be advanced. Citizens will become unruly and restless because nothing is working any more and problems are getting worse. What can they do about it? Nothing, except for the party that is out of power back in to power.

    2. When in power, ram your agenda through no matter what. If people don't like it, screw them. If the voters back home vote you out of office, you can get a job as a lobbyist for a lot more money. When it finally becomes obvious to most voters that Conservatives are running the nation like a private ATM machine, they will be voted out of power. Go to step 1.

    This strategy works brilliantly. Well, not brilliantly, but good enough to fool the average American.

    February 23, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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