By Jay Heflin - 02/25/10 07:24 PM EST
House Democrats are nearing a deal on the Senate jobs bill and could vote on it before the weekend, according to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.).
“They’re working on it now,” he said.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) expects all hurdles to be cleared within 24 hours.
Rangel met Wednesday night with Ways and Means members to figure a solution for the problem.
Van Hollen was a part of that meeting and said leaders are weighing two strategies. They could either pass the Senate package as is and amend the highway portion of the bill in future legislation or make the needed changes to the bill and send it back to the Senate for approval. He admitted the latter choice comes with some risks since it requires the Senate to approve the amended bill.
“I know what I want to do, but I’m not going to say it just yet,” he said.
Returning the bill to the Senate could delay its enactment, since it is unclear if Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidGrassley accuses Reid of 'pure unfiltered partisanship' Overnight Defense: Congress overrides Obama 9/11 veto | Pentagon breathes easy after funding deal | More troops heading to Iraq 78 lawmakers vote to sustain Obama veto MORE (D-Nev.) could secure 60 votes for the bill again. With 59 Democrats in his conference, Reid needs at least one Republican to support House changes to the bill, a risky proposition since Republicans have taken political heat for supporting the majority leader’s bill the first time around.
Thirteen Republicans joined 55 Democrats and two Independents to support the original Senate bill.
Republicans voting yes included Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderLawmakers pledge push for cures bill in lame-duck Overnight Regulation: Lawsuits pile up against Obama overtime rule The American people are restive, discouraged and sometimes suicidal MORE (Tenn.), the GOP conference chairman, as well as new Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.).
GOP Sens. Richard BurrRichard BurrDem groups invest big in Bayh in Ind. Senate race The Trail 2016: Fight night Poll finds races for president, Senate tight in North Carolina MORE (N.C.), Kit Bond (Mo.), Thad CochranThad CochranMomentum builds for Clyburn poverty plan 'Hardball' Pentagon memo creates firestorm Insiders dominate year of the outsider MORE (Miss.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSwing-state Republicans play up efforts for gun control laws Reid knocks GOP on gun 'terror loophole' after attacks GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (Maine), Orrin HatchOrrin HatchSenators already eyeing changes to 9/11 bill after veto override Internet companies dominate tech lobbying Senate panel approves pension rescue for coal miners MORE (Utah), James InhofeJames InhofeFunding bill rejected as shutdown nears Senate Dems: Add Flint aid to spending deal Shutdown risk grows over Flint MORE (Okla.), George LeMieux (Fla.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiOvernight Energy: Obama integrates climate change into national security planning GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase Overnight Energy: Lawmakers kick off energy bill talks MORE (Ak.), Olympia Snowe (Maine.), George Voinovich (Ohio) and Roger WickerRoger WickerGOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase GOP to Obama: Sanction Chinese entities to get to North Korea Senate GOP pressures Dems for deal on internet fight MORE (Miss.) also voted yes.
Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.) was the only Democrat to oppose it.
The highway portion of the bill is quite small when compared to its centerpiece, a $13 billion payroll tax credit employers claim for hiring new workers who have been out of work for more than 60 days. Build America Bonds and greater expensing for small businesses are also included in the measure.