The $15 billion jobs bill the Senate passed Wednesday, which exempted businesses from payroll taxes and included some highway funding, was designed as the first in a string of bills designed to address the nation's unemployment rate.
Now, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is planning to introduce a second bill that will include an extension of unemployment insurance benefits, state Medicaid funding, a slew of extensions of tax credits and expiring programs, an extension of COBRA, Medicare physician payment update, and small business loan guarantee enhancements, according to copies of the bill obtained by The Atlantic.
Reid's office has not confirmed the bill's contents.
The second bill, which is more ambitious and will likely cost more than the first, also includes a one-year extension of PATRIOT Act provisions and satellite TV licensing, plus an extension of disaster relief funding.
The majority leader had previously voiced support for passing state Medicaid funding and extending unemployment insurance, in a speech on the Senate floor. The new jobs bill extends an increase in state Medicaid funding originated under the $787 billion stimulus package.
Reid will likely introduce the bill as early as next week, though no time frame has been confirmed with Reid's office. See a copy of the bill in .pdf format here: Jobs bill.pdf
The majority leader has said he plans to roll out jobs legislation as a string of bills, the first of which was passed by a 70-28 margin on Wednesday. That $15 billion package, introduced by Reid, included highway funds, small business tax write-offs, and an exemption on Social Security payroll taxes for businesses who hire new workers.
The new bill includes most of the remaining provisions from the bill rolled out by Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, on Feb. 11 (list of provisions here). Hours after Baucus and Grassley unveiled their bipartisan $85 billion bill, Reid pared it down to $15 billion, stripping most of its provisions except the items above.
The new bill contains certain offsets, including an exclusion of some types of cellulosic ethanol from tax credits and modifications to the homebuyer tax credit; it exempts much of its contents from the Senate's statutory pay-as-you-go rules (commonly known as pay-go, which the Senate reinstituted Jan. 28) as emergency spending.
It does not yet have a score to determine how much it will cost.
UPDATE: Reid plans to introduce the bill either at the end of this week or early next week, according to Reid's office.
A spokesman said he could not confirm or deny that the above bill was in fact the version Reid plans to introduce, but he did confirm that Reid is working on a bill based on the Baucus/Grassley proposal, with several changes, including extensions of unemployment insurance and COBRA through the end of the year (instead of three months), state Medicaid funding, and PATRIOT Act provisions.
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