Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Senate Passes $140 Billion Package to Aid Job Creation, State Budgets

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Senate Passes $140 Billion Package to Aid Job Creation, State Budgets

Article excerpt

The bill gained bipartisan support and passed Wednesday 62 to 36. Among other things, the measure extends popular tax breaks for companies that take part in high-tech job creation.

Jobs trump the national debt. That's the message from a robust, bipartisan Senate vote to pass a $140 billion package to encourage job creation and relieve strapped state budgets.

The bill, which passed Wednesday 62 to 36, extends unemployment insurance for jobless Americans through the end of the year, boosts federal support for state Medicaid programs, and blocks mandated cuts in reimbursement for doctors serving Medicare patients.

The measure also extends popular tax breaks for companies that create high-tech jobs, including the research and experimentation tax credit, through the end of 2010.

"Investing in our nation's small businesses, cutting taxes for America's businesses, and bringing relief to families hard hit by the economic crisis are key to our economic recovery and long-term growth," said President Obama, in a statement after the vote.

"I am grateful to senators in both parties who took one more step forward today in getting our nation back on a solid economic footing," he added. Five Republicans joined all but one Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, in backing this bill.

The US tax code is riddled with so-called tax extenders, which have an expiration date so Congress can reevaluate their effectiveness. But in fact, they typically pass as a bloc, with little congressional oversight.

"Policymakers have, for the most part, considered the extenders as a group during the enactment process, and have not reviewed the unique strengths and weaknesses of specific provisions," concludes the Congressional Research Service in a report Monday. …

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