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House Passes Scaled-Back Jobs Bill

May 28, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

After cutting COBRA health care benefits for the unemployed and Medicaid funds for states with budget problems, the House has finally passed their economic recovery bill, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010.

But they are a day late. The Senate adjourned this afternoon and won’t be back to vote on the bill until Monday, June 7. The current unemployment benefits extension that was approved by Congress in April is set to expire on June 2. According to the Department of Labor, more than 300,000 unemployed people will exhaust their current tier of benefits and be left without a lifeline by the time the Senate gets back to take up the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] said today that the Senate will begin debating the House-passed bill first thing when they return on Monday morning.

Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus [D, MT] said earlier this week that the Senate had the votes to pass it. “We’re ready,” he said “It will pass the Senate.” Still, it could take several days or more for the Senate to finish the debate and send the final bill to President Obama to be signed into law.

House Democrats ended up splitting the bill into two pieces in order to find the votes they needed to pass it. One piece, containing a 19-month “fix” of a 21% payment cut doctors are scheduled to face under an automatic Medicare reimbursement rate formula, passed by a vote of 241-171. The second piece, including a 6 month extension of the filing deadline for extened unemployment benefits and a number of stimulative tax credits and programs, barely squeaked by on a vote of 215-204. Vote details on both roll calls will be online imminently and I’ll update this post when they are.

The second piece of the broken-up bill — the piece with the unemployment benefits — would also close several big tax loopholes benefiting wealthy individuals and corporations. The first would increase the tax rate that hedge fund managers have to pay, which is something the industry has been lobbying hards against for years. Because of an error in the tax code, hedge fund managers’ income is currently taxed at the lower capital gains tax rate instead of the regular income tax rate, which is higher. The bill doesn’t close the loophole entirely, though — it would tax 60% of hedge fund manager income at the regular rate and let them continue paying the discount rate on the rest. Other revenue-producing tax provisions in the bill include the closing of a corporate tax loophole that allows American companies to operate offshore without paying taxes to either the U.S. or the foreign country, and preventing some high-earning service professional from skipping out on Social Security taxes by calling themselves an S corporation.

The second piece of the bill is largely paid for by revenues from these tax provisions, while the Medicare payment fix in the first piece is not paid for and would add $23 billion to the deficit over the next ten years. The fact that the first piece passed the House by a comfortable margin while the second piece passed without a single vote to spare is testament to the difficulty Congress has approving revenue raisers over the opposition of private interests.

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Comments

  • cshelan 05/28/2010 1:52pm

    Did this bill include the $1 billion Summer Youth Jobs program?

  • Shadyhugs 05/28/2010 5:07pm

    Donny, do you ever proofread your articles before posting them?

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  • DebBrown 05/29/2010 9:10am

    There is no reason why our government scrambles each time they get “down to the wire” and then “run out of time” before they “have to” take another break. They should have been able to get the job done right this time and should have had a deadline of at least one week BEFORE the expiration date to complete it. They should finished the job before taking yet another break. They’ve had numerous extensions and an abundance of time. There is absolutely no excuse for putting American families in precarious situations w/expired Cobra health coverage and absolutely no money to survive on. All of the people this bill assists are hard-working Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. It’s a total disgrace when our leaders prioritize their vacations and breaks over the health and welfare of the American people they were chosen to represent. If they worked in private employment and ran off to break without first doing their job they’d be terminated for cause…FIRED.

  • brianlarsen45 05/29/2010 9:43am

    What is the HR # to the revised bill?

  • catfarmman 05/31/2010 2:35pm

    Thousands upon thousands of Americans are unemployed, out of benefits and cannot find a job. How can those in Washington not see the importance of a 5th tier of unemployment benefits?

  • pissedtaxpayer 06/01/2010 3:41pm

    When will the American workers realize that the vast majority of Congress is comprised of LAWYERS! Ask yourself why someone goes to law school. For love of laws? Yeah, right. The entire bunch of clowns in congress and the senate are laid out in jacuzzis, down in Paradise Island, or going down on their illegal household workers while the rest of us starve. Take solace in the fact that these creeps, and family, all have the best health insurance possible. THEY DON’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT US – the working class. Evidence? After congress dumped the COBRA subsidy, the senate raced out of DC faster than they did on 9/11, at 12:11 pm, to be exact. I honestly believe that 85% of US citizens are borderline idiots for continually voting these money hungry imbeciles back in office year after year. They’re always fast to bail out their fellow wealthy Americans, but your average worker can go to hell as far as they’re concerned. VOTE THEM OUT – ALL OF THEM!

  • pissedtaxpayer 06/01/2010 3:52pm

    Sorry, but I neglected to mention that the 30 billion provision that included the COBRA subsidy was dumped on the same day that 60 billion for war was approved. The Iraqis and Taliban are more than likely getting better health care than your average American displaced worker. It’s a disgrace, but at least their war machine is up and running well. Check Haliburton’s five year chart on Yahoo Finance. It’s sickening. Inform yourself: Read George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara, a fairly short play, for clarification about what’s REALLY going on.

  • mouseissue 06/02/2010 10:24am

    I am one of MILLIONS fo Americans whose Tier 4 benefits have run out.
    Mine ran out on 2010-04-17.
    Folks like me are sometimes called “The 99ers”. All 99 possible weeks of benefits have been exhausted.

    It’s been IMPOSSIBLE to find even a minimum wage job OF ANY KIND!
    Besides church and the food bank, I have been selling belongings to feed the family and keep our water and electricity on.
    Soon, we will have to sell our home (assuming I can find a buyer)!
    After that, we will be on the short road to homelessness.

    I don’t know how much longer we will be able to hold out hope!
    I get so angry when I think of those “fat cat” politicians living it up while good Americans are suffering due to political inaction.

    It has been shown that each dollar of UI paid generates $1.90 for the economy.
    No other gov’t program does this much good!

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    grant3719 06/04/2010 10:21am

    I’m right there with you! This is the first time in my life that I have been unemployed for more than a week. I lost my job September 2006. I put out 5 resumes today. I am out of ink for my printer, now I have to spend resources meant to feed the family on gas to get to the unemployment office to print more resumes. I hate to think our only options are illegal and will harm others, but I think about it almost daily now. I’ve never broke a law in my life. Crime may have to pay! Why can’t congress see how desperate we are?

  • Comm_reply
    Chris51 07/01/2010 10:05am

    Corporations have increased their cash reserves to $1.84 TRILLION, THE HIGHEST FIGURE IN HISTORY! Big business and the banks, after an unprecedented bailout by the public treasury, are hoarding the funds (Americans pay this back on their IRS tax bill). BIG CORPORATIONS EXECUTIVES ARE MAKING BIG BONUSES AND GETTING SALARY INCREASES FOR SHOWING HUGE PROFITS. The cash reserves of major corporations have jumped 26 percent in one year, the largest percentage increase in nearly 60 years. The cash reserves of working people, and particularly the unemployed, have not been so fortunate.

    REPUBLICANS bloc, the SENATE vote and defeat sevaral proposed extension of unemployment benefits for unemployed workers. Many of these same Senators rushed through a $700 BILLION bailout of Wall Street in 2008 in a matter of days, cannot bring itself to support even the most meager subsistence for the unemployed workers who are the victims, not the perpetrators, of the economic crisis.
    WWW.CHANGE.ORG

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  • rutde 06/05/2010 8:40am

    Congress fails once again to meet thier own deadlines and did so knowing that people were going to lose benefits. Maybe congress can call the bill collectors of everyone that relies on these benefits and tell them that they can not pay them until they get back from vacation. Im sure they will understand?

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  • Steven77 04/23/2012 8:34am

    Thanks for such a great article here. I think that a scaled back jobs bill is an awesome thing and it will definitely help us to make things better for jobless people. I just hope that it will start working really soon. Thanks one more time for the post here and keep it up in the future too.
    Regards, Steven from free cna classes online

  • Steven77 04/23/2012 8:36am

    Thanks for such a great article here. I think that a scaled back jobs bill is an awesome thing and it will definitely help us to make things better for jobless people. I just hope that it will start working really soon. Thanks one more time for the post here and keep it up in the future too.
    Regards, Steven from free cna classes online

  • meghan84 12/21/2012 1:43am

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