Obama signs $17.6 billion jobs bill

WASHINGTON Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:47pm EDT

1 of 2. President Barack Obama signs the HIRE Act, a job growth initiative, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington March 18, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

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Obama signs $18b jobs bill

Thu, Mar 18 2010

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama signed into law a $17.6 billion jobs bill on Thursday and sounded an optimistic note about the U.S. economy, saying it may soon begin adding jobs instead of losing them.

Obama made the comment in the White House Rose Garden as he put his name on legislation that includes a number of incentives aimed at helping small businesses recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Obama is under pressure to reduce a 9.7 percent jobless rate that has remained stubbornly high despite a $787 billion economic stimulus bill that he and his Democrats pushed through the U.S. Congress in February 2009.

"A consensus is forming that, partly because of the necessary -- and often unpopular - measures we took over the past year, our economy is growing again and we may soon be adding jobs instead of losing them. The jobs bill I'm signing today is intended to help accelerate this process," he said.

The legislation would exempt businesses from paying the 6.2 percent payroll tax on new employees who had previously been out of work. Employers would also get a $1,000 tax credit if those workers were still on the job a year later.

Obama said that while the jobs bill "is absolutely necessary, it is by no means enough. There is a lot more we need to do to spur hiring in the private sector and bring about a full economic recovery."

The bill also subsidizes state and local construction bonds and allocates $19.5 billion to shore up a highway construction program and extend it through the end of the year.

The bill's costs, other than the highway fund, are offset by a crackdown on offshore tax shelters.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (7)
Story_Burn wrote:
Finally, something small business can cheer about. The health bill is such a drag

Mar 18, 2010 12:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
firstamend wrote:
Well, that is one in a row. Job creation and putting America back to work will strengthen the economy. A atrong economy cures a lot of woes.

Mar 18, 2010 12:52pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
theaethereal wrote:
What is the bill number?

Mar 18, 2010 1:07pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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