WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Democrats circulated a jobs bill Tuesday that's light on new initiatives on boosting hiring and heavy with provisions sought by lobby groups like doctors and the satellite broadcasting industry.
The 362-page measure is still in draft form and has not been officially released. It has bipartisan backing but very few new ideas for creating jobs, other than a $10 billion plan to exempt companies from paying the employer's share of Social Security payroll taxes for new workers hired this year.
The rest of the measure is mostly comprised of last year's unfinished business, including renewal of business tax breaks that have expired, an extension of unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies and forestalling a cut in Medicare payments for doctors.
The jobs bill is politically important for Democrats seeking to respond to public anxiety about the economy. But the measure also has a lot of pull with an assortment of lobbying groups seeking to extend a raft of tax breaks and other benefits that expire at the end of the month.
The measure ignores some of President Barack Obama's ideas, including a tax cut of up to $5,000 for each new worker employers hire, a $250 payment to Social Security recipients and $25 billion in help for cash-strapped states.
Instead, the cornerstone of the plan would exempt companies from paying the employer's share of Social Security payroll taxes for new hires, as long as those people had been unemployed at least 60 days.
The measure would cost "roughly $80 billion," Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. Many elements would be financed by a variety of provisions closing tax loopholes such as one enjoyed by paper companies that get a credit from burning a dirty pulpmaking byproduct known "black liquor" as if it were an alternative fuel.