Senate Democrats have scheduled votes on two bipartisan proposals to boost job growth. Unlike previous attempts to pass President Barack Obama's jobs agenda, next week's votes seem likely to succeed.
One bill would give up to $5,600 to businesses that hire a veteran who has been unemployed for six months or more. Companies would get $9,600 for hiring an injured vet who has been out of work that long. Businesses would receive a $2,400 tax credit for hiring a veteran who has been out of work for a month.
The measure also would give one year's worth of GI benefits to unemployed veterans for education or training at community colleges or technical schools.
"For too long in this country we have patted our veterans on the back for their service and then pushed them out into the job market alone," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
The other proposal would scrap a requirement to withhold 3 percent of payments to federal, state and some local government contractors with unpaid taxes, a rule that has not yet taken effect. The rule, passed by a Republican Congress five years ago, was aimed at making sure contractors couldn't skip out on their taxes.
Supporters of the repeal, which is driven mostly by Republicans but also has the support of Obama, say it would improve contractors' cash flow and lead to job creation, as well as ease the cost to the government to implement the withholding. The legislation has already passed the GOP-controlled House; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said earlier this week that he'd like to modify the bill to make sure that contractors who have defaulted on their taxes don't benefit from the measure.
Unlike three failed efforts to pass Obama's jobs package, or parts of it, next week's proposals won't be paid for with a tax on income exceeding $1 million. That means Republicans are likely to support the plans.