Senate Democrats said they will push for passage this week of a U.S. job-creation plan that includes a $20 billion extension of the federal highway and transportation construction program.
Majority Leader Harry Reid said the package he plans to introduce today has “some good” bipartisan support. “I don’t know of any sticking points at this stage,” he said.
Reid spoke after Democratic and Republican congressional leaders met with President Barack Obama to discuss ways to move forward on a jobs bill and other priorities. Lawmakers in Washington are under growing pressure to boost the economy before this year’s midterm elections.
California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer said the package to be introduced today will include the extension of the highway trust fund for bridge and road construction, which is financed by a federal gasoline excise tax. Extending the highway construction program until year’s end would create 1 million new jobs, she said.
Before the meeting with congressional leaders, Obama said a jobs package is “a good place to start” on bipartisan cooperation in Congress.
“My hope is that both in the House and the Senate we’ll see some packages moving over the next several weeks that can provide a jump-start to hiring and start lowering the unemployment rate,” the president said.