On December 16, the U.S. House of Representatives approved, on a 217-212 vote, job creation legislation that will cost about $150 billion and be paid for partially by Troubled Asset Relief Program funds.
The “Jobs for Main Street” legislation (H.R. 2847) aims to create jobs by rebuilding transportation infrastructure, keeping public service workers employed, and increasing credit for small businesses.
“It's a continued effort to rebuild the American economy,” said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, during a floor statement. “It avoids a wave of layoffs [in the public service sector].”
House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) said the bill would be partially funded by $75 billion from TARP funds. The remaining funds would come from general revenue.
During debate on the bill, House Republicans railed against the bill's spending levels and the use of TARP funds. Representative Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said the legislation amounted to another economic stimulus package, similar to the one enacted earlier this year.
Among its many provisions, the bill would provide:
- $27.5 billion for highway infrastructure investments and $8.4 billion for public transportation investments;
- $26.7 billion to stabilize public service jobs such as teachers, firefighters, and police officers;
- $1.2 billion for training and employment services under the Workforce Investment Act. Of the amount, $500 million would be designated for grants to states for youth summer employment programs;
- $750 million for a program of competitive grants for worker training and placement in high growth and emerging industry sectors. Of the amount, $525 million would be designated for programs that prepare workers for careers in the health care sector. The remaining $225 million would be directed to Pathways Out of Poverty programs.
- $354 million to allow the Small Business Administration to continue two temporary loan guarantee authorities through the end of FY 2010 to make loans “more attractive to borrowers and lenders and to free up capital,” according to a House Appropriations Committee summary.
The bill now heads to the Senate, which is expected to debate the legislation in early 2010.