Breaking Down the New Jobs Bill

  • The Jobs Bill that might have been

    Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently stunned Democrats and Republicans alike when he scrapped a bipartisan $84 billion version of the jobs package for a more narrowly focused $15 billion incarnation, which passed the Senate Feb. 24. He reasoned a lack of support from Republican leaders would prevent passage of the bigger bill, but the decision led to bristling on both sides of the aisle who said it was either wasteful or too small to be effective. President Barack Obama had called for an additional $100 billion to be added back to the bill, which would revive several of the programs that were stripped away. That didn't happen. Here we break down the Senate-approved jobs bill passed , showing how it evolved from a much larger package, to its current, more narrowly focused incarnation. Photo Credit: kevindooley
    Where it started
  • Where it started

    Back in December, the Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and the House passed a $154 billion “Jobs for Main Street Bill” along strict party lines. Late December and January saw the focus of both groups shift to health care reform but the January Senate election of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts destroyed the supermajority, stalled health care reform and brought forth cries of better bipartisan participation. Job creation took center stage once again, bringing with it hope of a truly bipartisan agreement. Photo Credit: hannahbananalangy
    So close
  • So close

    Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) worked together on a 362-page, $80 billion-plus draft of a jobs bill that enjoyed bipartisan support, but it left some Republicans unhappy because of the $30 billion deficit and some Democrats unhappy because of a certain programs cut from the house bill. Despite bipartisan support and his initial OK, Senate Majority Reid scrapped the measure and introduced a new, far smaller bill. Photo Credit: AndyRob
    The numbers
  • The numbers

    Today’s incarnation costs $15 billion, focuses in on only four programs to stimulate job growth and prohibits any amendments from individual senators. Democrats: Many believe that the measure is not enough and that scrapping the bipartisan measure can only serve to further polarize the Senate. Republicans: While Republican leaders agree with the remaining four tenets of the bill on merit, and support a measure that would add nothing to the deficit, several news outlets reported that the GOP might try to block a vote on the bill because they were unhappy with the way Reid introduced it. Photo Credit: aresauburn
    Remaining foundation
  • Remaining foundation

    The largest portion of funds for the jobs bill comes from a $13 billion initiative penned by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that would exempt businesses from Social Security payroll taxes for every worker hired in 2010 that has been unemployed for 60 days or more. It includes an additional $1,000 income tax credit for each of those new employees retained for 52 weeks, to be counted on 2011 taxes. This idea first surfaced in the $84 billion Baucus-Grassley version. Bipartisan support: This initiative enjoys full bipartisan support and even holds the backing of the Congressional Budget Office, which released a statement saying the measure would be effective. Photo Credit: korosirego
    Benefits for small businesses
  • Benefits for small businesses

    The bill includes an extension of Section 179 expensing, which allows small businesses to write off more of their expenditures. According to the IRS, the section 179 deduction allows small businesses to deduct up to $250,000 of the cost of machinery, equipment, vehicles, furniture and other qualifying property placed in service during the previous year. From 2003-2007, this limit hovered around $100,000. To find out which states are the most and least friendly to small businesses, click here. Bipartisan support: While this measure also has bipartisan support, nothing about it specifically creates new jobs, just allows small businesses to save money and hopefully grow. Photo Credit: Search Engine People Blog
    Infrastructure, just less 
  • Infrastructure, just less 

    Reid’s version extends some existing highway programs. Since the Social Security tax break comprises $13 billion of the $15 billion bill, the highway portion shares the remaining $2 billion with the two other initiatives. According to Reid's Web site, it will save 1 million jobs, but it does not explain how he arrived at the figure. The original House bill included $27.5 billion for highway infrastructure alone, and an additional $20.8 billion on various other infrastructure programs including green building, clean water and transit. Bipartisan support, but it's shaky: While both Democrats and Republicans are in favor of investment in infrastructure, many liberals say this program doesn't do enough, while the GOP had argued against the massive price tag on earlier incarnations. Photo Credit: annia316
    Build America Bonds
  • Build America Bonds

    The final tenet of the bill expands lower-cost borrowing options for state and local governments to create infrastructure projects. These bonds, first introduced in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, allow the federal government to pick up the tab for 35% of the interest paid by state and local governments. Want to learn more about bonds? Check out these great Web sites. Bipartisan Support: This idea has support on both sides of the aisle since it essentially pays for itself with bonds and creates both infrastructure and jobs. Photo Credit: Rob Lee
    Off the table, for now: Tax break extensions
  • Off the table, for now: Tax break extensions

    According to the AP, the $84 billion incarnation of the jobs bill included about $33 billion in tax breaks, which expired at the end of 2009. While the House already approved the customary annual extension of 40 different tax breaks, the Senate did not approve the tax breaks due to the focus on health care reform. While some tax breaks have not been extended, check out these top ten tax breaks still available for small businesses. Democrats: These breaks will likely come back up in a separate bill, as Reid has said he plans to roll out several more job-creation bills over the course of the year. Republicans: Many GOP senators vehemently opposed the loss of these tax breaks from the most recent jobs bill. Photo Credit: alancleaver_2000
    Off the table, for now: COBRA Extensions
  • Off the table, for now: COBRA Extensions

    Reid’s latest plan eliminated a popular provision that would extend unemployment insurance benefits for laid-off workers by three months and would also extend federal health insurance subsidies. While this measure would not have created jobs (likely the reason it was cut), many feel it is necessary to help recently laid-off Americans. For more on health insurance, check out this story on secrets you need to know. Bipartisan support: This measure was supported by several members of both parties, and while it will likely come up again in later Democrat-led legislation, its exclusion angered many Senators on both sides of the aisle who had supported the Baucus-Grassley bill. Photo Credit: Waldo Jaquith
    DOA: Aid for public service jobs
  • DOA: Aid for public service jobs

    The original house bill included $26.7 billion to stabilize public service jobs such as teachers, firefighters, police officers, AmeriCorps workers and parks and forestry workers. The largest portion would have gone into a $23 billion Education Jobs Fund to help states support about 250,000 education jobs, with several other smaller initiatives for various other public service jobs. Democrats: This measure enjoyed support from Democrats in the House, and many see the removal of such measures as directing too much focus on the private sector. Republicans: No House GOP representatives voted for the costly measure, which was scrapped in the Senate. Photo Credit: Britanglishman
    DOA: Emergency relief for individuals
  • DOA: Emergency relief for individuals

    Several programs initially found in the House bill have fallen off the political radar, including more than $300 million in small business loans through the Small Business Administration and $2.3 billion to increase eligibility for the refundable portion of the child tax credit. Democrats: Like the public service jobs initiative, this measure enjoyed support by House Democrats. Republicans: No Republican representatives voted for the bill that included this measure, and it was cut in the Senate. Photo Credit: swanksalot
    DOA: Some Obama initiatives
  • DOA: Some Obama initiatives

    According to the AP, several Obama administration initiatives, including a $250 payment to Social Security recipients and $25 billion for states didn’t make the cut in the initial version of the Senate bill. This may have been due in part to the previously-mentioned Congressional Budget Office study, which found the Social Security tax break a more effective means of creating jobs. No support: These ideas came about after the House bill passed, but did not receive space in any version of the legislation. Photo Credit: jurvetson
    How are they going to pay for it?
  • How are they going to pay for it?

    The one-year anniversary of the stimulus bill on Feb. 16 led to an announcement by President Obama that he wanted to dedicate $267 billion to job growth in the current budget, according to The Washington Post. He also wants to add $100 billion to the current jobs bill, but legislative support for any of these proposals has yet to be seen. The Baucus-Grassley bill, according to the AP, would have raised about $7 billion from a crackdown on international tax cheats, a measure supported by the Internal Revenue Service and the Obama administration. Photo Credit: swanksalot
    How did it pass?
  • How did it pass?

    The new $15 billion jobs bill was passed Wednesday in a 70-28 vote in the Senate. Thirteen Republicans joined 57 Democrats to pass the package, with only one Democrat voting against the package, according to The Washington Post. The newly-elected Scott Brown (R-Mass.) sided with Democrats on his first major vote in the Senate in what came as a surprise to some Republicans. It shouldn't have though. On January 31, he told ABC's Barbara Walters he would have supported a $33 billion jobs bill. Photo Credit: zugaldia
    Tweet alongside us
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