House Dems Push Through Job Creation Bill

Thursday, December 17, 2009

President Barack Obama's Democratic allies in the House Wednesday muscled through a year-end plan to create jobs, mixing about $50 billion for public works projects with another sum of nearly $50 billion for cash-strapped state and local governments.

The measure goes next to the Senate, which won't consider it until next year.

The House's plan continues to give the unemployed benefits. But the measure no longer includes Obama's recently announced initiatives to give Social Security recipients $250 payments. Also missing is a tax credit for small businesses that creates jobs along with a program awarding tax credits to people who make their homes more energy efficient.

The Associated Press reports the measure passed 217 to 212, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) worked the floor. Not a single Republican voted for it.

"More spending, more debt," House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said. "Same lousy policies that haven't produced jobs all year."

The measure would cost $154 billion, according to documents released by Democrats. But there's also a proposed $20 billion cost from the federal treasury to keep the highway trust fund afloat. Many of the pieces in the measure are renewals of programs started in February's $787 billion economic stimulus bill, which has earned mixed reviews from the public as unemployment has hit 10 percent.

If passed, the bill would set aside money for highway, transit and water projects, and for schools and firehouses. There's also $41 billion allocated for a six-month extension of unemployment benefits and $12 billion to renew health insurance subsidies.

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