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Reid, Baucus unveil new $150B jobs bill

By Ben Pershing
Even as a short-term package of aid to the unemployed remains stalled in the Senate, Democratic leaders unveiled the latest piece of their jobs agenda Monday -- $150 billion worth of extensions to expiring federal programs and tax breaks.

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) objected again Monday to Democrats' efforts to move one-month extensions of unemployment insurance, COBRA health benefits and federal highway funding, insisting that the $10 billion measure be offset with spending cuts or a diversion of unspent funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Bunning's standoff with Democrats has been ongoing since Thursday, and many of the programs in question expired Monday morning. Democrats have been lambasting Bunning for the resulting halt in unemployment benefits and construction on highway projects.

Senate leaders are already looking past that impasse, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) released a new package designed to spur the economy. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure this week.

In a press release Monday, Reid called the bill a "bipartisan proposal that will help businesses thrive again, extend critical assistance to out-of-work Americans, extend tax relief to individuals and businesses and provide assistance to states to ensure that they can continue to provide health care to low-income families."

The measure includes one-year extensions of unemployment insurance and COBRA, making the benefits retroactive to Feb. 28 to compensate those whose benefits have temporarily run out. It would continue the increased level of funding for state Medicaid programs that began with last year's stimulus package, and provide extra help for pension funds that were hit hard by the economic recession.

The bill also carries a package of extensions of tax cuts that are popular with Republicans and K Street, including the research and development credit, incentives for biodiesel and renewable energy, credits for weatherization of homes and the program allowing the deduction of state sales tax payments on federal returns. It includes a "fix" to reverse an automatic cut in payments to doctors under Medicare, and emergency agricultural aid sought by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and others.

Three weeks ago, Reid surprised members of both parties by pulling an $85 billion jobs measure that had been negotiated by Baucus and Finance committee ranking member Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), a measure that was likely to earn the backing of several Republican senators.

Reid's allies said at the time that the Nevadan had concerns with the size of the package and its abundance of tax breaks, but the new bill released by Reid and Baucus Monday is much bigger than the package Reid previously nixed, containing nearly all of the same provisions plus additional items.

By Ben Pershing  |  March 1, 2010; 6:07 PM ET
Categories:  Capitol Briefing  
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Take out the $80 Billion in Tax Breaks for the wealthy that's the biggest part of this New bill and redirect the money into a Cash for Caulkers and Renewable Energy Loan Guarentee program that will create home grown Jobs for Americans. The Tax breaks are what the Republinans want and will not create any New Jobs. It's a waste of money that will not create Jobs nor improve our Energy and National security.

Posted by: liveride | March 4, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

See how bad unemployment is:

This chart is just for Dec. 2009. Wait when the latest one comes out in March 2010. It will include those people who objected to unemployment extension bills right now pending in congress.

Posted by: chedar888 | March 2, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Will there be money in the Treasury, next January, before the Dummycrats pi55 it all away?

Say no to spending. Say no to subsidized COBRA. The US Government is not a freakin' charity and putting undue constraints on business is keeping people from being hired.

This cr@p about health insurance is getting old. Let the private sector create jobs and this ship will right itself. Failure to do this is causing the demise of this nation.

Reid and baucus need to get FIRED by their respective consituencies.

Quit spending money we don't have!!!

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | March 1, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse


Hey Democrats,

What are the Democrats moving on from?




Posted by: kstobbe1 | March 1, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

There's that word again; "Tax cuts." And yet this bill will probably not get more than that staple of 4-5 GOP votes...

Posted by: parkerfl1 | March 1, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Another jerk GOP member who has the selective amnesia bug so many of the right wing suffer from these days...

Where were you Senator when Bush Inc tacked on 5 Trillion dollars to our national debt? Ah yes.. you were busy voting "yes"

The GOP are such a joke.

Posted by: dwdave67 | March 1, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

..."After the Republicans under their boy/Blew it Bush lost 8 and a half MILLION JOBS, left you/America a record debt/deficit/BILL of $1.5 TRILLION Dollars, and then LEFT OFFICE WITH THE LOWEST JOB APPROVAL RATING IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES Presidency 20 PERCENT!

..."I say as a registered Voter/Vet USAF, to Harry Reid/Democrats/President Barack Obama, "TO POUR IT ON....

.........POUR IT ON, and HURRY...

..."It's the right thing to do.


Posted by: ztcb41 | March 1, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats are pansies. If Bunning wants to fillibuster, make him fillibuster. Stand his butt up in front of the lectern and let him read Rush's autobiography if you want to. But don't knuckle under the a mere threat of fillibustering. Make those Republicans stand the stand.

Posted by: gasmonkey | March 1, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Just one more "itsy bitsy" brick, in the "Shovel Ready" road too ruin.

Brought to you by, Marxocratic Party.

Posted by: dashriprock | March 1, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

This is just one more "itsy bitsy" brick, in the "Shovel Ready" road too ruin, brought to you by, Marxocratic Party.

Posted by: dashriprock | March 1, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

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