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Hoyer Gives Few Details of Looming Jobs Bill

Yesterday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters that Congress will likely stick around Washington well into December in order to wrap up legislation reforming health care and tackling unemployment. But he didn’t go out on any limbs to say what the latter bill will contain or how much help might be forthcoming. Instead, he offered vague references to “a whole list of options that are available.”

I think clearly we need to move on unemployment insurance and COBRA. Beyond that, you mentioned a couple: public jobs, job tax credits, infrastructure. There are a lot of options available; we are discussing those. We are discussing with economic advisors as to what is the most effective. And, frankly, there are differences of opinion on that.

Asked about the size of the jobs package, Hoyer offered no hints. “I don’t have a figure,” he said tersely.

Obviously, there may be different figures for different things that you do. But it is clear that we need to act in a way that does get to the creation of job opportunities for people in the short term. That is what we are trying for.

Of course, that’s also what Democrats were trying for when they passed their $787 billion stimulus bill in February, when unemployment was 8.1 percent. How many more business tax breaks does Congress have to pass before recognizing that well-targeted infrastructure spendingincluding money for public transit – just might offer more bang-for-the-buck?

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