TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Steve Chiotakis: Though Washington was stuck in snow all week, key senators reached a bipartisan deal on a jobs bill yesterday. But in a surprise move, the Majority Leader, Harry Reid, decided only a slimmed down bill should move forward. Reporter Brett Neely is with us live in our Washington bureau this morning. Good morning, Brett.
Brett Neely: Morning.
Chiotakis: So this was totally unexpected, right? What was Senator Reid’s strategy?
Neely: Yeah, I mean the Republicans are really outraged about this — they say this is one of the few bills that’s had a bipartisan consensus recently. But, you know, voters are in a foul mood, unemployment is near 10 percent, and Reid is daring the Republicans to vote against a jobs bill. The original $85 billion bill announced by Senators Baucus and Grassley — a Democrat and Republican focused heavily on tax breaks for companies that hire new workers and buy new equipment. But many Democrats were worried there were too many tax breaks and not enough emphasis on job creation, and Reid was also sensitive to reports that the bill was becoming a Christmas tree for lobbyists.
Chiotakis: So what happens now, Brett?
Neely: Really hard to say. The bill that Harry Reid wants to move ahead with is a lot smaller — about $15 billion. It extends a highway spending bill for another year. There’s some tax breaks for small business and Buy America bonds for local government, but no one’s really happy with it. Republicans are betrayed, feel betrayed, and liberal Democrats say it’s way too small to make a difference. So we’ll see who holds their nose and votes for this when Congress gets back to work after its recess next week.
Chiotakis: Brett Neely reporting from Washington. Brett, thanks.
Neely: Thank you.
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