The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved a $15 billion package of tax breaks and highway spending that aims to bring down the country's stubbornly high unemployment rate.
By a vote of 70 to 28, the Senate approved the bill and sent it on to the House of Representatives, which could approve the measure quickly for President Barack Obama to sign into law.
The House has already passed a substantially different $155 billion jobs bill, but observers say it is likely to take up the Senate version to ensure that a highway-construction fund is not disrupted.
"The Senate has an ability to drive this process," said Peter Peyser, who lobbies for state and local governments.
The bill includes a $13 billion payroll tax break for businesses that hire unemployed workers, along with subsidies for state and local construction bonds.
It also extends the highway-construction fund through the end of the year.
The bill's costs are offset by a crackdown on offshore tax shelters.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he expects to take up a second jobs bill this week that could extend unemployment benefits, renew an expired research-and-development tax break, and provide money to cash-strapped states.
ReutersLast Mod: 25 Şubat 2010, 00:12