Senators unanimously approved legislation (95-0) to overturn an earlier measure requiring federal, state and local governments to withhold 3 percent of payments to contractors until they have filed federal income taxes. Lawmakers said they believe the repeal will boost job creation and investments by allowing contractors quicker access to much-needed capital.
The chamber also approved an amendment aimed at helping the 850,000 military veterans currently searching for jobs. The proposal would offer up to $5,600 in tax credits to companies that hire veterans who have been searching for work for more than six months and up to $9,600 to those who hire long-unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities. The proposal would also ensure that all veterans receive career counseling upon departure from the armed services.
To offset the $11 billion in revenue that the federal government is expected to lose as a result of the withholding repeal, senators agreed to adopt a pay-for plan that passed through the House late last month. The plan would scale back health care laws by disqualifying many middle-income Americans from Medicaid. The veteran tax incentives and job training programs, for their part, would be primarily covered by extending fees currently required to guarantee home loans through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Nearly a month after lawmakers shot down the president’s jobs bill and quickly began shredding it into smaller parts, Thursday’s measures become the first pieces of the bill to pass through the Senate. The measure faces a final vote next week in the House and, if passed, will head to the White House for Obama’s signature some time next week.