Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is signaling new flexibility to tackling joblessness with a series of bills rather than with a single, massive package. The top House Democrat on Thursday told reporters that there may be several legislative bites at spurring job growth, rather than the comprehensive, $150 billion measure that her chamber cleared at the end of last year. It depends on what happens in other arenas, she said. In recent talks with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Pelosi pushed for a catchall measure of tax credits, infrastructure spending and aid to states. But Reid has countered that there is little appetite in his chamber for a single package with a nerve-rattling price tag and he is hoping to draw some bipartisan support for smaller bills. The Speaker on Thursday said her first priority is helping small businesses. But she also wants to find new money for infrastructure projects and to extend social safety net programs that expire at the end of the month.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.