Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Republicans Want to Save Parts of the Obama Jobs Bill

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Republicans Want to Save Parts of the Obama Jobs Bill

Article excerpt

The Senate rejected the Obama jobs bill last week, but both Senate Democrats and House Republicans are trying to resurrect parts of it. Problem is, they can't agree on which parts.

In a bid to salvage elements of President Obama's jobs bill, Senate Democrats propose starting with a $35 billion aid package to help teachers, police, firefighters.

It's popular with the public and teachers unions, but Republicans call the bill - especially its 0.5 percent tax hike on income over $1 million - a jobs killer.

House Republicans are taking the opposite tack. When the House returns next week, majority leader Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia says that the House will take up a jobs bill to repeal a 3 percent tax on private sector businesses that contract with the government.

Both proposals were in President Obama's jobs bill, which failed even to make it to the floor of the Senate for a vote last week. But they appeal to different constituencies and are rooted in sharply different visions of what will get the economy rolling again.

For Democrats, it's a jolt to the public sector, especially hiring or preventing the layoff of some 300,000 teachers.

"The choice is very stark with our colleagues across the aisle," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D) of New York, in a briefing on Tuesday. "Do you want to employ teacher and firefighters, or do you want to protect those who make over a million dollars a year from paying a small amount more in taxes?

For Republicans, it's listening to what private-sector businesses say that they need to start investing and hiring again, especially tax cuts and less government regulation.

"You've got to work with [small businesses] on the things they care about - taxes and regulation - and we've got to do it now," said Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) of Maine, the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, at a hearing with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday. …

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