Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Brown and other Moderate Republicans Vote For Jobs Bill

Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts is an interesting phenomenon. First, he's a Republican in a very 'blue' state. His election drew support from some unlikely allies such as Governor Romney, Senator McCain, and the tea party supporters. Yet what Brown ran on was relatively simple; kill the current health bill, reduce government spending, no NYC trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and a pledge to not behave in a highly partisan manner. Brown is already making good on two of these promises. The health care bill was denied (at least for a time) due to his election breaking the filibuster proof majority of the Democrats. Now Brown has shown that he is willing to work across the aisle as he has voted along with a handful of other moderate Republicans to support the new scaled-back jobs bill.

From Yahoo Brown revives GOP moderates' pivot role

"I came to Washington to be an independent voice, to put politics aside and to do everything in my power to help create jobs for Massachusetts families," said Brown, whose election last month gave Republicans the 41st vote that could sustain filibusters. "This Senate jobs bill is not perfect ... but I voted for it because it contains measures that will help put people back to work."

Monday's vote cleared the decks for a far larger favorable vote when the jobs legislation faces an up-or-down final tally Wednesday.

The bill features four provisions, including a $13 billion measure exempting businesses hiring the unemployed from the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December and giving them another $1,000 credit if new workers stay on the job a full year.

It's undeniably modest, especially in comparison with the $862 billion economic stimulus bill enacted a year ago. It's also significantly smaller than a rival bipartisan bill unveiled earlier this month by two senior senators.

The measure is centered on tax breaks for businesses that hire new workers this year and a renewal of highway programs through Dec. 31. Both ideas have wide support in both parties. Mark Zandi, an economist with Moody's Economy.com, estimates the tax credit could spur about 250,000 new jobs.