Jobs bill undergoes big cuts, despite bipartisan support

Reid does hack job on bill

Jobs bill, Harry Reid

Harry Reid image from Flickr.

By all accounts, the jobs bill was on the path to victory. However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced yesterday that he would be making massive cuts to the bill, cutting the $85 billion price tag down to $15 billion.

How did he do it? According to Fox News, he cut out “key priorities of both Republicans and Democrats.” Why did he do it? Well, there’s no official word from Reid on that, but there are plenty of others out there willing to offer up their theories. If you asked Reid, I’m sure he’d say it was to save money.

What does the jobs bill do?

The jobs bill, in its stripped down form, doesn’t make it easier for businesses to borrow money, but it does offer tax breaks to employers who make new hires. Fox News says:

The $15 billion bill includes a $13 billion payroll tax break for employers who hire new workers; $35 million for small business depreciation; $2 billion for “Build America Bonds” for infrastructure; and a one-year extension of the highway bill.

Reid removed several extenders, including funding for research and development, and a provision to decrease the estate tax. The estate tax extender had a lot of Republican support.

Why did Reid hack the jobs bill?

According to Fox News, Reid slashed the bill because of  “criticism that the Democratic-sponsored jobs bill would not primarily create new jobs.” Christian Science Monitor says:

Senator Reid appears to be making a political calculation that the GOP will have a difficult time voting against his own, stripped-down version of jobs legislation. That’s because Reid has left the bill’s central job creation provisions intact, while jettisoning tax breaks and other provisions intended to win Republican support.

As for what Reid himself had to say about it, the only quote out there from him is this: “We are going to move a smaller package than talked about in the press. Republicans are going to have to make a choice. We have a bipartisan bill that will create jobs, according to the CBO, immediately.” He added “I don’t know in logic what they could say to oppose this.” I guess we’ll find out!

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