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Steve Chiotakis: In just a few hours, we’re gonna get word from the Labor Department about first-time jobless claims. The unemployment issue is something Congress is trying to tackle before its holiday recess — a bill that would pump $154 billion into projects designed to create jobs passed the U.S. House last night. It’s called the “Jobs for Main Street Act,” but Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson reports opponents call it unnecessary.
Jeremy Hobson: Not a single Republican voted for the bill, which would be funded somewhat by leftover TARP money instead of using it to reduce the deficit. The bill would extend unemployment benefits, send money to struggling state and local governments, and it would spend about $50 billion on infrastructure projects.
Democratic Congressman James Oberstar predicted the benefits yesterday:
James Oberstar: Two hundredy twenty thousand direct jobs on over 8,000 projects — 630,000 jobs and jobs in the supply chain, supplying asphault and cement and pipe and concrete and culverts for this program.
Republicans called the bill a waste of money. But with unemployment at 10 percent, Democrats didn’t want to return to their districts for the holidays without taking steps to address job losses.
The bill now heads for the Senate, though it’s not expected to be taken up until next year.
In New York, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.