Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Senate Jobs Bill Part 2 Introduced; President Obama Visits Savannah Technical College

Yesterday, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced the second phase of the Senate’s Job Agenda. The introduced bill, known as the American Workers, State and Business Relief Act, would be a substitute amendment to H.R. 4213, the Tax Extenders Act of 2009. The bill provides unemployment insurance and COBRA health benefits from February 28, 2010 – December 31, 2010. The total package costs $150 billion.

Additionally, the bill extends a number of tax credits that have expired, including the qualified tuition deduction, research and development credit, increased funding for state Medicaid programs, and a number of credits aimed at small businesses. This bill does not include funding for an “Education Jobs Fund.”

To view the press release, go to: http://finance.senate.gov/press/Bpress/2010press/prb030110b.pdf

At present, it is unclear how the Senate will proceed with this bill. The Senate is currently working to consider extending unemployment insurance for one month, but the Senate cannot finalize action because of a procedural objection. Meanwhile, the House Democratic leaders are working to gather support to pass the first part of the Senate Jobs bill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is trying to gather support for the Senate Jobs bill. The House leadership expects to consider the Senate Jobs bill sometime this week.

In other news, President Barack Obama visited Savannah Technical College in Georgia today as part his “Main Street Tour.” The President spoke to students of the Savannah YouthBuild program, which puts at-risk youth through a combined GED/construction program, as part of his continuing effort to vocalize his support for community and technical college-based workforce training programs. During the visit, he announced a newly proposed program designed to provide incentives for homeowners to retrofit their homes in a more energy-efficient manner. The Home Star program, which was first outlined in the president's State of the Union address, would provide rebates to homeowners of up to $3,000 for making energy efficient improvements to their houses. Customers would be eligible for direct rebates at the point of sale, according to the White House.

"This is a commonsense approach that will help jump start job creation while making our economy stronger," the President said. "It's what's right to plan for our future." The President has also visited Lehigh Carbon Community College in Pennsylvania and Lorain County Community College in Ohio as part of the tour.

Additionally, the White House is hosting a discussion on the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) with White House Domestic Policy Director Melody Barnes and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

For more information, go to: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/03/02/reforming-student-loans-paving-road-opportunity

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