According to what House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said on Tuesday, a jobs creation bill will likely have to wait until 2010. However, he also said that the House is set on extending the estate tax (the so-called "death tax") permanently before the holiday recess. In addition, Hoyer said that House Democrats wish to see another federal unemployment benefits extension. Presumably this bill would include a "fix-it" clause to change the expiration date on the previous extension, allowing people in high unemployment states to claim the full 20 weeks as opposed to 14.
Additional unemployment extension is a must, I think. A jobs bill is top priority but I can grant Hoyer his comment that he wants "a job package that will work, not getting one right now." As long as Congress can move fairly quickly on a jobs bill, something in early 2010 would potentially be a good injection to a recovering economy. Infrastructure spending, state aid, public jobs and jobs tax credits are all on the table.
Making the current estate tax rate permanent - essentially a big tax cut overriding its reset back to the previous higher rate on more estates in 2011 - should be a breeze to pass. Unfortunately this does nothing to help people who are unemployed, losing their homes, and lacking the essentials of daily life, let alone worrying about whether their heirs will only get $2 million instead of $3 million. I'm in favor of lower estate taxes, but it's not exactly a priority right now.
Of course any bills passed by the House must first make it through the Senate, which is currently tough on Democratic-sponsored legislation and slower in general.
It seems that the estate tax extension will pass with flying colors, at least. I cannot imagine the GOP stopping that one.
What do you think about the priorities of legislation in the House given these proposals?
- Millions may lose benefits as Congress debates unemployment extension
- Duct tape legislation: House bill will fix deadline glitch
- Is the tide turning for unemployment? Initial jobless claims at one-year low
- The 10.2% solution: Obama to hold jobs summit today at White House
- Congress ponders new tax legislation
- Dems advocate additional unemployment benefits extension