Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tried to bridge the partisan divide on jobs today, unveiling legislation that is made up of various bipartisan jobs proposals they believe Congress can act on quickly.
“Every idea in here, no matter where it came from, has enjoyed bipartisan support in the current political environment — has been taken up or vetted whether by the president’s jobs council, the House or the Senate,” Coons said. “It is our hope that our colleagues will follow our lead and join us in advancing these bipartisan ideas for jobs creation.”
Rubio said lawmakers should pass the items where the parties agree while they continue to debate the issues where there is not agreement.
“There are some dramatic and significant differences between our parties, even between us on some issues, on some issues of how we view the role of government, and that is why we have elections, but what about the things we agree on,” Rubio said. “Why can’t we pass the things we agree on, especially at this moment when our country is struggling economically, and especially at a moment when one of the things that we believe is contributing to the economic downturn is this perceived dysfunction of the political process?”
Coons said the two are currently seeking co-sponsors and have sent their bill to the Congressional Budget Office to be scored.
The measure comes as Senate Democrats in recent weeks have tried and failed to pass President Barack Obama’s $447 billion job creation proposal as well as individual elements of the package that they sought to offset with a tax on millionaires. Republicans opposed those efforts, in part, because they believe taxing millionaires, many who run small businesses, will hurt the economy.
A spokesman for Coons said the two Senators plan to work with the committees of jurisdiction to find offsets and seek to identify inefficiencies and wasteful spending.
The bill includes a raft of tax provisions — many that are set to expire at the end of the year — designed to help small businesses.
For example, the measure includes a three-year extension of 100 percent bonus depreciation for the full cost of qualified investments such as equipment and property; a three-year extension of expensing levels for small businesses, which allows businesses to expense the full purchase price of certain financed or leased equipment and off-the-shelf software; and a three-year extension of eliminated taxes on certain small-business stock.
The bill also would extend the research and development tax credit until 2013 and would establish an enhanced research credit for domestic manufacturers to encourage job creation at home.
Another provision would provide veterans with a tax credit equal to 25 percent of the fee associated with starting a franchise up to $100,000.
The bill also includes some immigration provisions, including eliminating the per-country limitation for employment-based visas and adjusting the limitations on family-based visa petitions from 7 percent per country to 15 percent.