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House to Take Up Controversial Senate Jobs Bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday that the House will take up the Senate’s $15 billion jobs package next week, even though a diverse group of Democratic Members are objecting to it.

Pelosi acknowledged that many in her Caucus feel the Senate bill is too small — especially compared with the $154 billion House-passed jobs bill that has languished in the Senate — but she said to expect a process of “segmentation” when it comes to advancing jobs-related bills.

“There will be this jobs bill … with investments in infrastructure … [and] tax credits for hiring for small businesses, as well as the accelerated depreciation in that bill to help small businesses,” Pelosi said. The next jobs bill will address unemployment insurance that is about to expire, she said.

Pelosi signaled that segmentation is necessary because the Senate doesn’t have the votes to pass one large jobs package. “You’d have to ask them why they’re going that route. But it’s okay with us, as long as we get the bills over here to send back to them,” she said.

A senior House Democratic aide listed problems that still have to be worked out: Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) is leading a revolt over how highway funds are doled out, fiscally conservative Blue Dogs are questioning whether the bill complies with pay-as-you-go budgeting requirements and the Congressional Black Caucus is arguing that the bill is too small and too focused on tax cuts.

Democratic leaders are discussing whether to address these concerns in separate legislation, the aide said.

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