Senate jobs bill bears little resemblance to House jobs bill

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 15:33

In response to my query on the content of the jobs bill and nature of the deal that earned Republican support for the bill, Senator Reid's office sent me a transcript of Reid's statements on the floor of the Senate this morning.  The key graph (emphasis mine):

MR REID:  I would also say that we are contemplating, if we can work out the procedural difficulties, not being in session tomorrow.  We have some things we have to work out prior to that time because as most everyone knows, we have been working on a bill to end this work period.  It's really a nice piece of legislation, started with a bipartisan jobs tax credit with Hatch and Schumer.  We have a section 179 small business tax issue that small business is really looking for.  We have a highway bill extension, and we also have build America bonds.

So, the four key components of the Senate jobs bill are:

  1. A tax credit, proposed by Senators Schumer and Hatch, for small businesses that hire new workers (see more here)

  2. More Build America Bonds, which make it easier for state and local governments to borrow money (see more here)

  3. Section 179 Expensing: helps small businesses grow by allowing them to write off more of their expenditures

  4. About $20 billion for the Highway Trust Fund.
Compared to the House jobs bill passed in December, the Senate bill has minimal new public spending.  Here is what the House passed:

Shortly after increasing the debt ceiling, the House also narrowly passed a $150 billion jobs package, 217 to 212. The bill includes $48.3 billion in infrastructure projects, $26.7 billion for public sector jobs (teachers, fire fighters, police officers, etc), and $79 billion for social safety net programs such as unemployment insurance, COBRA, and Medicaid. Although it isn't in the legislation, Congress intends to pay for the jobs package using unspent TARP authorization funds, although it's unclear if the savings would cover the entire package.

Here are the key difference:

  1. While the House jobs bill included unemployment and COBRA extensions, the Senate will deal with unemployment insurance and COBRA in separate legislation during the final week of February.

  2. The House bill targeted $28 billion in highway funding, versus $20 billion in the Senate bill

  3. The House bill had $20 billion in other public infrastructure projects, but the Senate is focusing on tax credits for small businesses.

  4. The Senate bill makes it easier for states and local governments to borrow money through Build America Bonds, while the Hose bill gave $26.7 billion in direct grants to states.
Effectively, the Senate bill is relatively bare of public spending compared to the House bill.  The difference adds up to about $55 billion in public infrastructure and direct grants to save public sector jobs.

So, yet another good, but already too small, bill has been further gutted by the Senate.  The jobs bill coming out of the Senate is still better than nothing, but it will not make much of a dent in the broader employment picture.

Chris Bowers :: Senate jobs bill bears little resemblance to House jobs bill

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re: jobs bill (4.00 / 2)
The jobs bill coming out of the Senate is still better than nothing, but it will not make much of a dent in the broader employment picture.

and that's why it got republicrat support

Also, a high profile governement effort to (4.00 / 3)
address our economic problems that (once again) doesn't do enough to improve things substantially just feeds the Republican argument that government cannot solve problems. This makes it harder to do anything next time, and legitimizes tax cuts as an all purpose solution to everything.  This will help elect Republicans.

Here is a question:  Reid apparently is uninterested in doing anything to help the party's chances in future elections, and he is not alone - the bulk of the national Democratic Party leadership has a similar stance.  What about back benchers or party people at the state and local level? Are they all similarly unconcerned about where this is leading?  Is there any way to organize them?

Also, since as Atrios said "For small businesses, the problem isn't lack of finance it's lack of demand,"  does anyone have the ability to reach out to small business people on this issue?  

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
Tax Credits Are USELESS In A Jobs Bill (4.00 / 6)
Businesses aren't going to hire someone in a recession because they get a tax break.  Jobs are created by demand, not tax breaks.

What will happen is that businesses in sectors that are experiencing the leading edge of job growth (an edge that may well not reach anyone else for quite some time, especially if we hit a double-dip recession) will get government subsidies for hiring workers they were going to hire anyway.

This is smoke & mirrors, without even bothering with the mirrors.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

Another day, another "bipartisan" nonsolution (4.00 / 3)

   But I'm sure that the coming Democrat wipeout in November will all be the liberals' fault.

    Even though no liberal has been sighted within five miles of the White House in recent memory.

   The thought of passing a strong jobs bill, and MAKING the Republicans publicly filibuster it, and pay a political price for doing so, has never occurred to anybody in leadership. Ever.

   This has to be deliberate. NOBODY is this incompetent.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

This so-called "Jobs" bill won't do nearly enough. (0.00 / 0)

The question is why won't they do anything to stimulate real jobs? The infrastructure jobs seems to be just the thing, for a start, and it makes sense to people so why is it left out of the Senate bill? One gets the feeling they are paralyzed. The lot of them.

Was it Paul Krugman who said recently that most of the jobs that have been lost will not be coming back but are lost for good. That means new ones must be created. We can't expect so many millions of people to be unemployed forever without cracking the social order. Many people leaving comments about unemployment at dkos today were mentioning that they were worried about what might happen as things got worse, in various parts of the country where they lived, (such as Dayton, OH and many others) when they reached "the boiling point." That should not be discounted. Real pain exists in huge quantities out there and ignoring it as the Senate does is a very bad idea.

Because... (4.00 / 2)
The question is why won't they do anything to stimulate real jobs?

   ...that might cause people to go out and vote for Democrats.

   Rahm's worst nightmare.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

[ Parent ]
Rahm's work is nearly done (0.00 / 0)
Soon he may withdraw into his dark, fetid hole.

[ Parent ]
not worth it (0.00 / 0)
especially if they extend the estate tax repeal.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

they'll will vote estate tax repeal down (0.00 / 0)
they are worried about the deficit...

[ Parent ]
Subsidizing highways is crazy as it will increase carbon emissions... (0.00 / 0)
We are not far from a time where effects of climate change will dwarf any current discomfort from a faltering economy.  Everything the government does should be evaluated in terms of whether it will increase or decrease carbon emissions.  Dollars to build highways is building toward more catastrophe.

the UI/COBRA extensions have not yet been dealt with in the Senate (0.00 / 0)
The extensions that are current law were passed by both houses in December and provided extensions of the additional ARRA UI and COBRA subsidy provisions through February.

The end of those extensions is fast approaching.  The House jobs bill included a 6-month extension.  The Senate has not acted yet, and my sources say the Senate is considering only a 3-month extension.  This is being 'worked on' by Max Baucus in 'bipartisan' group of Finance Committee members... (oyvey)

See more here:

Not Ideas About The Thing, But The Thing Itself -- Wallace Stevens

another housing bill (0.00 / 0)
As the U.S. real estate market continues to flounder, Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) have written another housing bill.  Proposed housing bill would grant immigrants residence visas. The lawmakers have introduced the concept as a bipartisan bill to draw in international investment.


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