As we told you last week, the snow in Washington, DC and the scheduled Congressional recess have pushed movement on the Senate jobs bill to next week. When the Senate returns on February 22 they are expected to begin with a cloture vote on the bill. Cloture is a parliamentary procedure that allows the Senate to vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill, and thereby overcome a filibuster. To invoke cloture three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes, must vote to invoke it.
Senator Reid’s proposed jobs package includes two programs that affect education:
- Under the “Payroll Tax Forgiveness For Hiring Unemployed Workers” provision, qualified employers would be exempt from paying the Social Security payroll tax for the remainder of 2010 for certain newly hired employees (those who have been unemployed for at least 60 days). A “qualified employer” includes any employer which is a public institution of higher education (as defined in section 101(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965).
- The “Election to Convert Tax Credit Bonds to Build America Bonds” provides qualifying issuers a direct payment from the Treasury for a portion of the interest paid on bonds for certain school and energy projects. This provision would allow qualifying issuers of tax credit bonds the option of issuing tax credit bonds under current law, or utilizing the direct subsidy Build America Bond structure for bonds issued after the date of enactment. The federal subsidy would equal 45 percent of the borrowing cost (65 percent for qualifying small issuers). The proposal is estimated to cost approximately $2 billion over ten years.