Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Big Fuss Over A Down-Sized Jobs Bill

Senate Republicans have the Democrats so spooked with the threat of filibusters that a scaled down $15 billion jobs bill from an original $85 billion to help get thousands of Americans back to work while millions remain on the dole is being spun by both sides as a major victory.

That's like shooting beebees at a tank.

And, wouldn't you know the new kid on the block, Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, cast the vote that turned four other Republicans to vote against the filibuster 62-30 allowing an up and down majority floor vote Wednesday.

It amazes me of all the fuss. This thing is a can of peanuts compared to a much broader approach brewing in the House. Merging their two bills will be a piece of work. Now that compromise will be awesome, by comparison.

Just listen to the crowing from both parties.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. -- “Today, jobs triumphed over politics.”

President Barack Obama -- “The American people want to see Washington put aside partisan differences and make progress on jobs, and today the Senate took one important step forward in doing that.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R- Kentucky -- “Millions of Americans want to get back to work. That’s why Republicans will offer ideas that will make it easier for businesses to hire new workers. Those ideas should be considered, too.” 

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. -- “I hope this is a beginning of a new day here in the Senate."

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine -- “We have to demonstrate outside the Beltway and to Americans that we need to move forward initiatives that are going to benefit small businesses and individuals in a tough economy.”

Brown -- “It is the first step in creating jobs, not only for the people of Massachusetts but for the people of the country.”

After Brown's vote, other Republicans that followed were Senators Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, George V. Voinovich of Ohio and Christopher S. Bond of Missouri. Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska was the lone Democrat vote in favor of the parliamentary roadblock.

Keep that up Sen. Brown and your supporters might convince the skeptics you're the real deal.

And, what's the big deal?

An unknown number of shovel-ready construction jobs to repair America's decaying infrastructure. The bill would infuse billions into the nation's highway construction fund.

The provision would allow businesses to write off up to $250,000 in capital investments in 2010 rather than depreciating the costs over time. It is projected to cost the government $35 million over 10 years. About $13 billion would give companies who hire unemployed Americans an exemption from paying payroll taxes on those workers through the end of this year. It also provides a $1,000 tax credit to employers who keep new workers on the payroll for at least for 52 weeks.

During yesterday's debate, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., declared “Enough with the political games," believing his Republican colleagues were toying with the Democrats. That is before the Republicans faked him out of his jock strap. His caucus was prepared to call repeated votes to force Republicans to explain why they were balking at the measure they supported.

As I said. The Republicans have spooked the Democrats and got them in their cross-hairs. Bang. Bang.

Only in American politics can a band aide serve the purpose of a tourniquet.

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