As many had expected, the new legislation providing employers that hire unemployed workers a tax break has passed the Senate with a 68-29 majority vote. The legislation will now go to President Obama’s desk to get signed into law. You can learn more about this new law in the following story from the Associated Press.
It will be the first of several election-year jobs bills promised by Democrats to be enacted into law, though there's plenty of skepticism that the measure will do much to actually create jobs. Optimistic estimates predict the tax break could generate perhaps 250,000 jobs through the end of the year, but that would be just a tiny fraction of the 8.4 million jobs lost since the start of the recession.
The measure is part of a campaign by Democrats to show that they are addressing the nation's unemployment problem, but that message was overshadowed by Congress' feverish final push to pass health care overhaul legislation by this weekend.
The bill which passed Wednesday contains about $18 billion in tax breaks and a $20 billion infusion of cash into highway and transit programs. Among other things, it exempts businesses that hire the unemployed from paying the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December and gives employers an additional $1,000 credit if new workers stay on the job a full year. Taxpayers will have to reimburse Social Security for the lost revenue.