Business Lobby Unhappy With Reid Over Jobs Bill

Posted February 12, 2010 at 12:05pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) decision to put the kibosh on a bipartisan job-creation bill has raised the ire of the nation’s business community.

“Malpractice by Reid,” is how one prominent GOP lobbyist summed up the situation.

Reid on Thursday rejected a bipartisan package crafted by Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that would have included extensions for many of the business community’s favorite tax credits. Reid decided instead to opt for a smaller, more targeted package.

Business lobbyists that represent a wide array of sectors said Reid’s decision was baffling from an economic standpoint. And those lobbyists said they would continue to fight for the popular tax credits’ renewal.

“We don’t understand why they would have made the decision to strip extenders off of this package,” said Ralph Hellmann, the top lobbyist for the Information Technology Industry Council, whose member companies include Apple, IBM and Microsoft. “It’s just going to create more uncertainty when the economy needs this the most.”

Jade West, senior vice president of government relations for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, said that Reid and his colleagues made the wrong call on the jobs bill.

“The reason that some in the Democrat caucus objected to the Baucus-Grassley bill was because it was too heavy on tax cuts and not enough on ‘job creation,'” she said. “There’s no way to interpret that except to assume that they believe that government creates jobs. The private sector creates jobs. The best thing the government can do right now is get out of the way and stop interfering.”

Anna Palmer contributed to this report.