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.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.