Durbin: Senate to move to jobs in January

Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Wednesday that a
jobs bill would be considered on “the first of the year.”

Durbin also voiced confidence that the Senate would approve
a healthcare bill before lawmakers leave for the holiday break despite
Republican procedural obstacles.

When asked at a news conference whether lawmakers would work
through Christmas, Durbin said, “Don’t you dare say that. We’ll finish this.”

{mosads}House Democrats Wednesday evening are expected to approve a
$75 billion jobs bill with increased funding for infrastructure, fiscal aid for
states and local governments and extensions of unemployment benefits and COBRA
healthcare aid for the jobless.

Durbin, who is crafting the Senate jobs bill with Sen. Byron
Dorgan (D-N.D.), said that he liked the House’s version. “I think they’re
on the right track,” he said.

Senate Democrats have focused on ways to increase small business
hiring, such as increased Small Business Association loans and tax credits.

During a Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing
Wednesday on job creation measures, an Obama administration official echoed the
need for a new jobs package that included small business aid in addition to
infrastructure aid and energy efficiency investments.

“Job growth is essential to that vision of shared
prosperity in all times, but it demands greater urgency and emphasis as we seek
to emerge from a profound recession and financial crisis,” said Gene
Sperling, counselor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

The Senate has been unable to move quickly on a jobs bill
because of the drawn-out debate on healthcare, something that has frustrated
House Democrats.

“This is truly a tale of two chambers,” said Rep. Xavier
Becerra (Calif.), the Democratic House Caucus vice chairman.

Tags Dick Durbin

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