House passes $15 billion jobs measure

The House voted 217-201 March 4 to approve a $15 billion jobs bill that would give tax breaks to companies for hiring new employees and also includes a one-year reauthorization of the law governing federal highway funding; expansion of the Build America Bonds program; and provision allowing companies to write off equipment purchases, according to The Washington Post.

Although six Republicans and most Democrats supported the measure, more than 30 Democrats opposed it, saying it is too small and too focused on tax cuts instead of spending. Economic experts are divided on the effectiveness of the payroll tax break regarding job creation. Some Republicans don’t believe the bill will significantly alter the unemployment rate.

The Senate passed the jobs bill Feb. 25. However, the House has changed the bill, and the Senate needs to approve the revised version, which it is expected to address this week.

While the House was approving the bill on March 4, the Senate was considering amendments on a $150 billion measure that includes one-year extensions of unemployment insurance and COBRA health benefits; renewals of various expiring tax breaks; and money to help states fund Medicaid, among other issues. The Senate will vote on that bill this week.

Date : 3/9/2010