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."