This post was also written by Jim Burns.
This week, President Obama signed into law a $17.6 billion jobs creation package passed by Congress, H.R. 2847, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (“HIRE Act”). This legislation includes incentives for businesses to hire the unemployed; extension of infrastructure programs affecting surface transportation, energy, and school construction projects; and continuation of depreciation programs in effect for small businesses. We note that this legislation, when first taken up and passed by the House of Representatives in December 2009, was a much broader measure that included: tax credits for businesses for hiring the unemployed, as well as other credits directed at small businesses; extension of assistance to help to pay COBRA healthcare premiums; and funding for new infrastructure and clean energy programs, among other items. Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV), recognizing he did not have the votes to support such a measure at the time, instead wrote a smaller bill. That does not mean, however, that Congress will not consider additional measures to address the nation’s economic woes. Legislation is already under consideration, for example, to 1) either provide additional tax incentives for businesses or extend expiring ones; 2) extend unemployment insurance and provide health insurance subsidies for the long-term unemployed; and 3) provide additional funding for infrastructure programs. All of this is being done against a background of continued economic concerns and a Congress where many members are facing difficult re-election races in the fall. As a result, an environment exists to pursue lobbying opportunities in these areas for the remainder of the 111th Congress.
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