President Barack Obama says small-business owners especially will benefit from a jobs bill awaiting his signature.
Obama was signing the bill Thursday at the White House.
Obama said he hopes the bill, which includes about $18 billion in tax breaks and pumps $20 billion into highway and transit programs, will be the first in a series of jobs packages crafted to put millions of unemployed Americans back to work.
But there is ample skepticism about how much hiring the bill will foster. Some estimates are that the tax breaks could generate 250,000 jobs through the end of the year ? a fraction of the more than 8 million jobs shed during the recession.
“Now, make no mistake: While this jobs bill is absolutely necessary, it is by no means enough,” Obama said in remarks prepared for the Rose Garden signing ceremony.
“There is a lot more we need to do to spur hiring in the private sector and bring about full economic recovery ? from helping credit-worthy small businesses get the loans they need to expand, to offering incentives to make homes and businesses more energy-efficient, to investing in infrastructure so we can put Americans to work doing the work America needs done,” Obama said.
Small businesses in particular will benefit from provisions in the bill, the president said.
“Many of them are on the fence right now about whether to bring on that extra worker or two, or whether to hire anyone at all,” Obama said. “This jobs bill should help make their decision that much easier.”
Businesses that hire anyone who has been without a job for at least 60 days would be exempt from paying the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December. Employers also would get an additional $1,000 credit if new workers remain on the job a full year.
In a show of bipartisanship toward the election-year goal of job creation, the Senate passed the bill Wednesday with 11 Republicans among the 68 senators who voted to send it to the president.
Source: The Associated Press.