Democrats dangle tax cuts to win Republican support for jobs bill

Democrats dangle tax cuts to win Republican support for jobs bill

Senate Democrats are dangling tax provisions favored by the GOP in hopes of building bipartisan support for a jobs bill Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidConservative Senate candidate calls on GOP to end filibuster Ex-Reid aide: McConnell's 'original sin' was casting ObamaCare as 'partisan, socialist takeover' GOP faces growing demographic nightmare in West MORE (D-Nev.) plans to unveil by Monday.

Sen. Max BaucusMax BaucusOPINION | On Trump-Russia probe, don’t underestimate Sen. Chuck Grassley Lawmakers: Leave advertising tax break alone GOP: FBI firing won't slow agenda MORE (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOvernight Cybersecurity: Kushner says no collusion, improper contacts with Russia | House poised to vote on Russia sanctions | U.S., Japan to beef up cyber cooperation Mattis rips Pentagon officials for M wasted on Afghanistan camouflage Feinstein calls for Sessions to appear in front of Senate Judiciary Committee MORE (Iowa), the panel’s ranking Republican, are working on a tax package that would serve as the main vehicle of jobs legislation.

ADVERTISEMENT
Reid plans to pass the bill next week before Congress leaves for the Presidents Day recess, but he needs GOP support.

Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders keeping door open on 2020 Biden deflects questions about 2020 run at OZY Fest The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE administered the oath of office to Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) Thursday afternoon, giving Republicans the 41 Senate seats they need to block legislation.

The emerging plan on jobs is to produce a package of tax cuts that could win Republican support. The core of the proposal would include a tax credit for employers who hire new workers in 2010 and a package of tax extenders, such as the research and development tax credit.

The tax package would not include an estate tax provision, according to sources.

"The hope is if you make it a Republican-enough bill we can get Republicans to sign on," said a person familiar with the talks.

Democrats hope to get Republicans to sign on to support the tax package and then to add other job-creation proposals, such as infrastructure spending, to the package.

Sens. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerTrump: Why aren't 'beleaguered AG,' investigators looking at Hillary Clinton? Trump: Washington ‘actually much worse than anyone ever thought’ Schumer: Dems didn't 'tell people what we stood for' in 2016 MORE (D-N.Y.) and Orrin HatchOrrin HatchGOP seeks to meet referee’s rules on healthcare repeal Hatch shares gif of dumpster fire: ‘Checking in on Dodd Frank’ Senate panel advances Trump's tax policy nominee MORE (R-Utah), two other members of the Finance panel, are working with Baucus and Grassley.

As of Thursday afternoon, Democratic negotiators were not certain how much infrastructure spending and energy-efficiency spending they could persuade Republicans to accept.

A Democratic source familiar with the negotiations said that extensions of unemployment insurance and government subsidies to the COBRA health insurance program would likely be included.

Provisions designed to assist small businesses, such as reforms to the Small Business Administration and a partnership among the SBA, Commerce Department and U.S. Trade Representative to promote exports, could also draw Republican support.

Republicans are less eager to support a litany of new spending programs, however.

Earlier in the day, Democratic leaders unveiled a list of such proposals as part of their jobs agenda. The list included an extension of the Surface Transportation Act, rebates to consumers who make their homes more energy-efficient and grants to upgrade school buildings, among other ideas.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said lawmakers received a report from the Congressional Budget Office projecting the effectiveness of various proposals.

He said the CBO predicted that tax credits for new hires, the unemployment insurance extension and more generous rules for small-business expensing would have the biggest impact on job creation.

But some Democrats disagree sharply with that analysis.

“My opinion is that it’s shortsighted,” Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinDistance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday Grassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream MORE (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said of the decision to pack the first jobs package with tax credits.

“It’s not very efficient,” said Harkin. “Using CBO’s methodology, the most effective way to create jobs is to load up a C-17 cargo plane with $50 bills and have it fly over the country pushing money out the door.”

Harkin said he favored spending on school renovation that “would put a lot of people to work this summer” and help the national economy in the long term by investing in the education of future workers.

Reid said during Thursday's press conference that lawmakers would vote on a jobs bill Monday. But a source familiar with negotiations said it would be difficult to assemble a package and win Republican support in time for a Monday vote.

Sen. Mike EnziMike EnziTrump reopens fight on internet sales tax Rift opens in GOP over budget strategy GOP chairman wants 'robust' tax reform process in the Senate MORE (Wyo.), a Republican on Finance, said that lawmakers and the public should have three days to review the bill before voting on it.

Enzi also said that Republicans would demand that the cost of the package be offset.

“That’s what we should do for everything, pay for it,” said Enzi. “We’ve maxed out the nation’s credit card.”