(Updates with help for housing market)
Sept 8 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama proposed a $447 billion package of tax cuts and spending measures on Thursday aimed at spurring growth and hiring.
Here are some of the key elements of his American Jobs Act, which he announced to a rare joint session of Congress:
Obama is proposing a $175 billion one-year extension and expansion of the employee payroll tax holiday that would halve the tax rate to 3.1 percent in 2012.
Obama is seeking $65 billion to encourage small businesses to hire more workers. This includes halving employer payroll taxes to 3.1 percent for the first $5 million of a company’s wage bill in 2012, which the administration says will reach 98 percent of small businesses. He also wants a complete payroll tax holiday for increasing the size of the payroll by up to $50 million above the prior year, either by hiring new workers or raising the salaries of the existing labor force.
Obama wants to broaden homeowner access to mortgage refinancing and help the battered housing market by allowing households to take advantage of ultra-low borrowing costs that would help them put their finances on a sounder footing.
Administration officials say he hopes to push forward with a plan in the next few weeks. To hammer out a proposal, the Treasury Department is talking with U.S. mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and their regulator the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to figure out ways to broaden access for homeowners by removing barriers to refinancing.
At a cost of $5 billion, Obama wants to extend a 100 percent expensing tax break for companies, allowing them to immediately take a tax deduction for investment in new plant and equipment.
— $35 billion to keep teachers, firefighters and police officers in their jobs, of which $30 billion would go to schools and $5 billion to police and firefighters.
— $30 billion to modernize schools and community colleges.
— $15 billion to rehabilitate and refurbish vacant and foreclosed homes.
— $5 billion to help low-income youths and adult workers, supporting summer and year-round jobs for young people and support subsidized work for unemployed low-income workers.
Obama seeks $50 billion to invest in highways, transit, rail and aviation, including upgrading U.S. airports and supporting Nextgen Air Traffic modernization.
Obama wants $10 billion to capitalize an infrastructure bank to leverage private and public infrastructure investment “without earmarks or traditional influence,” the White House says.
— $49 billion for a one-year extension of long-term unemployment benefits that would otherwise expire, which the White House says prevents 6 million jobless Americans from losing benefits. It includes reforms to the jobless aid system and a “bridge to work” program to help get unemployed people back to work.
— $8 billion for tax credits for long-term unemployed. (Compiled by Alister Bull, Jeff Mason, Laura MacInnis and Caren Bohan; Editing by John O’Callaghan)