WASHINGTON- Lawmakers in the Senate unveiled a long-awaited bipartisan jobs bill on Thursday that relies on business tax breaks and construction projects to bring down the unemployment rate.
Senate Democrats had hoped to pass the bill this week but have been delayed by a record-setting snowstorm that has paralyzed Washington for days. With no votes scheduled for Thursday and a weeklong recess looming, action on the bill is not likely until February 22.
Though there has been little bipartisanship in an often-gridlocked Congress this session, the bill has drawn support from at least two Republican senators, Charles Grassley and Orrin Hatch, as both parties agree action is needed to create jobs.
The United States has lost millions of jobs during the recent financial crisis and recession, and the jobless rate for January was 9.7 percent.
In a joint statement, Grassley and Democratic Senator Max Baucus said the bill was only a draft that could change significantly.
We offer it as the first step in the Senate process for consideration of these time-sensitive proposals, the two lawmakers said.
The bill also extends a number of other programs, from unemployment insurance to Medicare payment rates, that have either expired or will expire soon.
(Reporting by Andy Sullivan, editing by Philip Barbara)