Senate Majority leader has scrapped a deal forged by the Senate finance committee on the jobs bill, due to complaints from Democrats:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is rewriting a jobs bill after Democrats complained of too many concessions to Republicans.
Reid announced Thursday that he would cut back on the jobs bill Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) introduced only hours earlier, essentially overruling the powerful chairman.
It is enough to make one ask--why didn't he just do this with health care? The 74 days the Senate lost while waiting for Baucus and Grassley on health care was enough to push the process past the Massachusetts special election. If Reid had just overridden Baucus back then, the health care bill would currently be law.
I guess even if Reid did not override Baucus then, at least overriding Baucus now shows that he valuing bipartisanship at lot less these days. Progress!
Now, Reid will move forward with the original bill he had discussed back on Tuesday:
- A tax credit, proposed by Senators Schumer and Hatch, for small businesses that hire new workers (see more here)
- More Build America Bonds, which make it easier for state and local governments to borrow money (see more here)
- Section 179 Expensing: helps small businesses grow by allowing them to write off more of their expenditures
- About $20 billion for the Highway Trust Fund.
Debate, amendments and voting on this bill will take place next week. As I discussed on Tuesday, this bill is pretty weak tea compared to the House jobs bill. It is especially light on direct public infrastructure spending, and direct grants to state and local governments.
The deal between Baucus and Grassley that caused Democrats to balk included many other measures:
[A] short-term extension of the USA PATRIOT Act, flood insurance provisions, Small Business Administration loan provisions, and a $1.5 billion package of agriculture disaster relief provisions.
The Baucus version of the bill also included a tax extenders component very similar to the $31 billion Tax Extenders Act passed by the House, and a deal on unemployment and COBRA extensions.
While these measures will not be in the bill the Senate votes on next week, it is important to note that the Senate isn't scrapping any of these ideas. Rather, they will take up these ideas the week after next in separate legislation.