After weeks of just saying no to every job creation proposal offered up by President Obama, Senate Republicans on Thursday actually passed one component of the president’s $447 billion jobs bill. In a 95-0 vote, the Senate passed the measure Obama unveiled earlier this week that would give a tax break to businesses that hire veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
“No veteran who fought for our nation should have to fight for a job when they come home, and I urge the House to pass these tax credits as well so I can sign them into law,” said Obama in response to the bill’s passage.
Businesses that hire disabled vets would receive tax credits of up to $9,600 and up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who've been out of work for six months or more. The bill also provides funding for job training and counseling. In addition, it repeals a tax provision scheduled to go into effect in 2013 that would have required federal, state and local governments to withhold three percent of their payments to contractors, which lawmakers and Obama agree would make it even more difficult for businesses to hire new workers.
The tax breaks and jobs programs will be paid for by extending a fee that the Veterans Affairs Department charges to back home loans.
“This is how divided government works — through genuine cooperation and a search for common ground,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), who has been harshly critical of Democrats’ efforts to pass the jobs bill in pieces. “It’s what Republicans on the [deficit super committee] have been doing these past several weeks. And it’s what House Republicans have been doing for the past year on legislation of the kind we’ll pass today.”
(Photo: Larry Downing/Reuters)