Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took the bipartisan-negotiated jobs bill, unveiled by Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA)--who, by the way, played a central role in health care negotiations last summer--and slashed it, the headlines say: he took several measures from that bill and produced them as a new proposal--the first step in a larger Democratic jobs agenda in the Senate, as his office put it.
The bill went from $85 billion to $15 billion, Fox reports.
The new bill includes 1) an exemption from Social Security payroll taxes for workers hired in 2010 who have been unemployed for at lest 60 days, 2) allowing small businesses to write off more of their expenses under Section 179, 3) an extension of highway programs and a transfer of money to the Highway Trust Fund, and 4) letting state and local governments "borrow at lower cost to finance more infrastructure projects."
Liberals typically like more spending in their jobs proposals--some wanted the $787 billion stimulus bill (about a third of which was tax cuts) to spend more, weighing in closer to $900 billion, as was being discussed before moderate senators struck a deal to pare it down--but this time around liberals are praising Reid for scrapping so much of the Baucus/Grassley deal, The Atlantic Wire's Healther Horn reports.
But it's not the bill they're happy about: it's Reid's spine in rejecting the Baucus/Grassley deal.
After Baucus's health care negotiations with Grassley and a handful of Republicans lagged and lagged over the summer, taking much of the momentum out of health care reform and, in the end, yielding no GOP votes, it's hard not to have soured on the idea of a Baucus/Grassley negotiation leading the way forward for the Democratic/Obama agenda...even for liberals who think a larger pricetag would do more to spur job growth.