Rangel predicts support for jobs bill

Rangel said Republicans would have a hard time opposing a tax cut aimed at businesses.

“I think they’ll have difficulty saying no,” he told The Hill. “I mean, it’s a tax cut for entrepreneurs.”

Rangel added, “It’s not because they want to, but because of how will the voters look at it” if they oppose the bill.

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Five Republicans in the Senate, including Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.), voted on Monday to move the bill forward in the Senate.

The centerpiece of the Senate bill is a $13 billion tax credit that employers can claim for hiring employees who have been out of work for more than 60 days.

The provision is expected to prod company leaders into hiring, but a shortage in customer demand has business leaders and economists questioning its effectiveness. They argue increases in demands for goods and services, not a tax credit, are the key to boosting employment.

Conservative Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas) acknowledged the provision’s shortcomings, but also said it was better than doing nothing in trying to reduce unemployment.

“Tax relief aimed at businesses, even if it’s ineffective, is a better idea than some of the other proposals,” he told The Hill.

Like Hensarling, House Democrats have a problem with the tax credit, Rangel said.

“I’ve heard a lot of complaints, but it hasn’t reached the level that ‘I’m not voting for it,' ” he said.

The Senate could vote to pass its jobs bill as early as Wednesday morning. Once it passes, Rangel said, the House will not change the bill.

“We’d like to do some fixing on it, but won’t be able to do that,” he said.

Aside from the tax credit, the Senate jobs bill includes a provision allowing businesses to write off the cost of capital investments; Build America Bonds, which allow state and local governments to lower their borrowing costs; and a one-year extension of funding for transportation programs in the Surface Transportation Act.