The Senate Will Make Jobs No. 1 Priority

Published January 8, 2010

The U.S. Senate will tackle the nation’s catastrophic job picture when it arrives back in Washington on Jan. 19.

Just before leaving for the Christmas recess, a $154 billion bill aimed at creating jobs wended its way through the House, passing by a razor-thin 217-212 margin. The “Jobs for Main Street” bill provides for new construction jobs with $27.5 billion in spending on highway projects and $8.4 billion on public transit. In addition, the measure includes $23 billion for education to prevent teacher layoffs as states continue to struggle and a provision that allows the U.S. Small Business Administration to continue backing loans to small businesses.

 About $79 billion will go toward extending lifeline programs for poor and unemployed Americans through the end of June. That does not include the two-month extension of such benefits that President Obama recently signed into law.

 Obama’s critics in Congress aren’t happy.

 They labeled the measure – a smaller version of the earlier economic recovery bill – "Son of Stimulus" and "Stimulus II" during debate on the House floor leading up to the recess.

 "They took the low-hanging fruit – a lot of the Recovery Act provisions – and applied additional monies," Christian Dorsey, director of government affairs for the Economic Policy Institute, told CNN. "The big pieces, $50 billion for infrastructure, and $50 billion for state aide, are tried and true Recovery Act."

 

Written by <P>By BET.com Staff<BR></P>

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