White House praises Senate jobs bill

The White House praised the Senate jobs bill unveiled today, touting a rare moment of bipartisanship on one of President Obama's top priorities.

Drafted by Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, the $85 billion would create tax incentives for small businesses to hire and retain new employees.

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The legislation would also extend unemploytment benefits and COBRA subsidies until May 31.

"The President is gratified to see the Senate moving forward in a bipartisan manner on steps to help put Americans back to work," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

Gibbs said the presidnet would like to add provisions incentivizing energy efficiency and increasing credit for small businesses but is pleased with the package of tax incentives released today.

"The draft bill released today by Senators Baucus and Grassley includes several of the President’s top priorities for job creation, including a tax incentive to encourage businesses to hire, a tax cut to make it easier for small businesses to invest and expand, further measures to keep people at work repairing our nation’s roads and bridges, and extended unemployment insurance and health care assistance for Americans who are out of work," Gibbs said.

In a joint statement, Baucus and Grassley urged their Senate colleagues to not rush bill through the Senate for fear of disturbing the delicate bipartisan balance of the legislation.

"Consistent with maintaining the spirit of bipartisanship, we believe that the appropriate timing andprocess will balance the goals of transparency with a desire to move expeditiously," the senators said. "Any efforts that needlessly rush the process through partisan means will undermine our goal of a bipartisan and transparent Senate legislative product."