I have been writing several Jobs bills diaries the past few weeks because this really is the NUMBER ONE ISSUE facing America. Health care reform, Afghanistan, Regulation Reform, and Climate Change are all important but JOBS JOBS JOBS is by far what America cares about.
Well the Senate Democrats particularly Senator Dorgan and Senator Durbin are working on a Jobs bill in tandem with Mark Zandi. They are coming up with a bill that will be about $300 billion.
While the GOP has been blocking the health care bill the past 3 days, the Democratic Senators have still been working diligently behind the scenes.
Apparently they got a presentation of a $230 billion jobs bill proposal by Mark Zandi in their Wednesday caucus meeting.
A number of the jobs proposals backed by Democrats make up a $230 billion package proposed by Mark Zandi of Moody's Economy.com, who made a presentation to Senate Democrats Wednesday. The provisions supported by Zandi along with new spending on infrastructure, a favored approach of top House Democrats, would cost between $291 billion and $299 billion, according to estimates by lawmakers and economists.
In addition to Zandi's ideas, some of the proposals that are being considered:
Lawmakers are calling for extending aid to the unemployed, infrastructure spending, a hiring tax credit and increased small business loans.
Some of the break down of the $300 billion figure:
Lawmakers are looking to extend unemployment insurance and COBRA healthcare benefits for the unemployed through 2010 at a cost of $100 billion alone, according to the sponsor of House legislation, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.).
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) pushed Wednesday for $69 billion for highway and transit projects that could be started almost immediately with funding. Oberstar had criticized the earlier stimulus bill for not including enough infrastructure spending, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) have voiced support for more infrastructure spending to create jobs.
Democrats would also increase loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) at a cost of $20 billion, according to Zandi.
He called for raising limits for the SBA loans, removing the interest rate cap on them in order to allow credit to be given more freely and using leftover bank bailout money as small-business credit.
Providing more aid to states, a move to stem further job losses, also has support among lawmakers, The New Republic reported Tuesday. Zandi, noting that the state governments will have a $150 billion budget shortfall in fiscal 2011, has called for $75 billion in federal aid for states.
A federal work-share program backed by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and four other Democrats would cost about $600 million.
The total cost of all of those proposals would be $291.6 billion.
Zandi has called for a $230 billion job-creation package that includes the small-business loans, state fiscal aid, hiring tax credit, work-share program, unemployment and COBRA insurance and state fiscal aid. His cost estimates for most of the programs are similar to those given by lawmakers.
Adding the Oberstar-DeFazio infrastructure proposal to that sum would bring the total to $299 billion.
How would this affect the unemployment rate:
The $230 billion package backed by Zandi would lower the unemployment rate by 0.7 percent by the end of next year and would save or create 1.3 million jobs, according to his estimates.
Thus in addition to the stimulus package this Jobs bill could bring down the unemployment rate in the 9-9.5 range which is BETTER than where it is now.
They want this paid for and not to add to the deficit.
Some suggestions include using some of the left over TARP funds and the White House is in negotiations with Congress on just that.
Under pressure from Democrats in Congress, the Obama administration has begun talks with lawmakers about tapping unspent money from the government’s financial bailout program to help offset additional spending to create jobs and aid the long-term unemployed.
It appears that the White House is on board and have their own suggestions:
Among the ideas under consideration, according to National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers and others:
• Extending unemployment insurance benefits beyond this year. Earlier extensions already have made some people eligible for a record 99 weeks. Giving money to jobless Americans spurs consumer spending, which saves or creates jobs.
• Sending more aid to cash-strapped state and local governments. States are writing their 2010-11 budgets, and federal aid included in February's stimulus package runs out in 2010. Without another bailout, they might be forced to cut spending or raise taxes, hindering the recovery.
• Creating tax incentives, such as for small businesses or manufacturers. During last year's campaign, Obama proposed a tax credit for each new job created.
• Financing more infrastructure and energy efficiency projects. Obama favors an "infrastructure bank" with public and private money, which he promoted in last year's campaign and this year's budget.
My own suggestion is revisit the recovery package and use some of the unused funds that are going towards tax cuts and put those instead for infrastructure spending which will create MORE jobs.
I also think that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid need to coordinate better so this is done much more quickly. Plus the package should include direct government hiring for green jobs, etc.