Wednesday, March 24, 2010

another positive move

House passes bill to fund infrastructure, tax cuts

WASHINGTON – Local governments would receive billions of dollars for construction projects and welfare programs under a bill passed Wednesday in the House, the latest in a series of election-year jobs bills Democrats are pushing in Congress.

The bill combines $13.2 billion in interest subsidies for local construction bonds with $3.6 billion in tax cuts for small businesses and $2.5 billion in aide to states to pay for expanded welfare programs through September 2011.

The House passed the measure 246-178, with nearly all Republicans opposed. It now goes to the Senate.

The Democrats aim to pass a series of modest measures to address unemployment as congressional elections approach in November. With unemployment hovering near 10 percent, jobs and the economy are sure to be big issues in elections.

Last week, President Barack Obama signed a bill that offers tax breaks to companies that hire unemployed workers. On Wednesday, the House also passed a bill that would provide $5.1 billion to fund local disaster relief projects, including some that date back to Hurricane Katrina, and $600 million for summer jobs programs. The bill passed 239-175.

Democrats said the economy is starting to rebound, but with high unemployment persisting, they will continue to work on the issue.