The latest in a series of jobs measures that will get a Senate vote offers a twist on what we’ve seen over the past several weeks. First of all, the bill is not paid for with a surtax on millionaires. Democrats have enough votes from their counterparts on that for their point to be made. Second, it attaches to a House-passed bill repealing the 3% withholding measure for government contractors, something deeply sought by the House GOP leadership. So this is more of a legislative than a political measure, a bid to actually get something done.
What are they putting this legislative muscle behind? A hiring tax credit for veterans. Or, seen another way, yet another business tax cut.
On Friday, a trio of Democrats announced that the Senate would take up a measure, probably next week, that would give companies financial incentives for hiring veterans [...]
It includes tax credits for businesses that hire veterans, including up to $5,600 for bringing on a former service member who has sought a job for more than six months. Companies can receive as much as $9,600 in tax credit for hiring a veteran disabled in the line of duty who has been looking for a job for at least six months.
The measure also expands vocational rehabilitation benefits for veterans.
The measure would be offset by keeping the current fee structure for certain veterans’ home loans. The House used a similar offset when it passed, 418-6, the veterans’ jobs legislation pushed by Miller.
House Republicans actually cited the veteran’s hiring initiative as one of the few pieces of the American Jobs Act they agreed with, back in September. And the angle is that this will be voted on right around Veterans Day.
This is a pretty small bill. The White House didn’t even assign a dollar amount to the veterans hiring initiative, but as I looked at it in September, I noted that, even if it led to 100,000 veteran jobs, it would cost $760 million. And 100,000 is a stretch. Somehow, Senate Democrats came up with a $1.6 billion price tag on this bill, however. It’s paid for by delaying fee reductions for VA loans. Which means that you may be able to get a job as a veteran, but your VA mortgage will cost some additional money.
I assume that the 3% withholding bill, which will allow government contractors to more easily cheat on their taxes, will be paired with the bill that the House used for their pay-for, a bill that fixes a “glitch” in the Affordable Care Act that would have allowed early retirees to qualify for Medicaid.
The 3% withholding bill costs the government roughly $10 billion, according to CBO. So in all, you’re talking about an $11.6 billion jobs bill, featuring two of the lesser measures of the American Jobs Act. And it’s a tax credit plus a benefit for tax cheaters, about as far from a direct hiring initiative as you can get.
Call it the “Sort-of American Jobs Act.”
In a Rose Garden ceremony today, President Obama will use an executive order to commence a new program called the Veterans Gold Card Initiative, which gives returning veterans personalized case management services for their job searches for six months. Administration officials stressed that the measure is “not a substitute for robust Congressional action.” They urged passage of the veterans hiring tax credit.