Senate will vote on job proposals next week: Reid

WASHINGTON Thu Feb 4, 2010 5:19pm EST

An applicant waits during a job fair at the Southeast LA-Crenshaw WorkSource Center in Los Angeles, November 20, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

An applicant waits during a job fair at the Southeast LA-Crenshaw WorkSource Center in Los Angeles, November 20, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Democratic leaders unveiled a long-awaited "jobs agenda" on Thursday but said they would solicit Republican support before determining which elements to bring up for a vote next week.

With a nervous eye on the November congressional elections, Democrats say their top priority this year will be bringing down the nation's double-digit unemployment rate.

But with their supermajority gone after a surprise defeat in Massachusetts last month, Senate Democrats need at least some Republican support to get any of their ideas passed.

"We want to work with Republicans, and it appears to me on the jobs program that they want to work with us," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said at a news conference.

The unemployment rate currently stands at 10 percent, down slightly after reaching a 26-year high. The pace of job losses has slowed but new data released on Thursday suggested recovery will be slow.

Though Democrats are eager to show voters they are taking action, they also face a growing backlash over the aggressive measures they took last year to blunt the impact of the worst recession in 70 years.

They intend to advance their jobs proposals in the Senate through a series of smaller bills, to avoid the sticker shock of the $155 billion jobs package passed by the House of Representatives in December.

The first of these will come up for debate on Monday with the goal of passing it by the end of the week, Reid said.

An aide suggested on Wednesday that it could include hiring and investment incentives for small businesses and help for construction projects underwritten by state and local governments.

As of late Thursday, the shape of the bill was less certain as Democrats sought Republican cooperation, several aides said.

Republicans have been unified in opposition to many key issues, including healthcare reform and increasing the nation's borrowing capacity.

Senator Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the tax-writing Finance Committee, is working on tax incentives with Democrat Max Baucus, according to an aide.

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch has teamed up with Democrat Charles Schumer to offer a tax credit to encourage small-business hiring, which could be included in the package.

Among the items on Senate Democrats' jobs agenda:

* Tax credits to encourage small businesses to hire employees and buy new equipment

* Money to encourage construction projects by state and local governments

* Extending healthcare subsidies and unemployment payments for the jobless

* Incentives to weatherize buildings

* Aid to cash-strapped state and local governments to avoid further layoffs of teachers and other public employees.

(Editing by Alan Elsner)

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Comments (22)
richinnc wrote:
I sure would like to spend MY money instead of Washington doing it for me. But I guess they like the power and sadly, enough of us are suckered into the enslavement of it. Hopefully some day we will wise up, and vote to break the chains of government programs.

Feb 04, 2010 7:11am EST  --  Report as abuse
parrm wrote:
Highway funds makes sense. Job credits have no merit. If a small business can’t sell their product, they won’t hire new employees. People just aren’t spending and until they start, this thing will continue. Excessive spending caused the problem we are in. Let’s don’t encourage a re-run!

Feb 04, 2010 7:43am EST  --  Report as abuse
DavidNichols wrote:
Economy/U.S. Deficit

Rocket Science:

January 2008 = Start of Deportation of Hard Working Immigrants.

(Many Family Units with Citizen Children, that had been here for up to 25 years, and were a Vital part of our Strong Economy!)

January 2008 = Start of the “Worst Recession in U.S. History!”

Does any one get it yet?

The “Magic Repair” to our Economy is to fix what Broke it!
(Our I.C.E.’d E-conomy!)

All Stimulus Packages, Bail-outs, Cash for Clunkers, Job Bills, ect. have been since January 2008, by two Presidents, and are only “Treating the Symtoms!”

To: Prosperity.

Feb 04, 2010 8:40am EST  --  Report as abuse
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