Obama’s Jobs Bill Moves to Congress

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“The purpose of the American Jobs Act of 2011 is simple—put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans,” the president said in a letter to Congress. “And it will do so without adding a dime to the deficit.” President Barack Obama, seeking to recapture the promise of change that propelled him to the White House, returned to his pledge to remake Washington after a bruising first year that saw his approval ratings drop and his ambitious agenda falter. Mr. Obama spent the heart of his address Wednesday pledging to spur job growth and the economy, pivoting to issues that have hurt the president and his party. He reiterated his desire to see Congress pass the ambitious legislation begun last year, starting with a revamp of financial rules.

The Job’s bill has made provision for the following

Under existing law, employers that hire veterans who have been disabled in the line of duty and unemployed for at least six months are eligible for a maximum tax credit of $4,800 per hire. The president’s proposal would increase the “wounded warrior” credit to $9,600 and create two tax credits. Employers would receive a $2,400 credit for hiring veterans who have been unemployed for at least four weeks and a $5,600 credit for veterans who have been unemployed for at least six months.

The bill includes a provision that would prohibit employers from discriminating against unemployed job applicants. The proposal would make it illegal for employers to discriminate against unemployed job applicants and would provide whistle-blower and retaliation protections to employees and applicants who complain about discriminatory practices.

Another provision tucked into the jobs package would reduce or eliminate the income tax exclusion of employer-provided health benefits for individuals who earn $200,000 or more per year and for married couples earning $250,000 or more.

The president’s jobs proposal would extend unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed (more than six months) until Jan. 3, 2012. The legislation would require the federal government to explore revamping the unemployment benefits system and possibly model it after a program run by the state of Georgia.

Senate leaders are planning a possible floor vote on the jobs creation bill in October, and House consideration is also expected in the next few weeks. Despite Mr. Obama’s demand that Congress act on the legislation quickly, neither the jobs nor tax proposals are likely to be approved or take affect any time soon. More likely some of the proposals in the bill could be passed piecemeal or could be included in a broader deficit-reduction plan crafted by a congressional super committee charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years.

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