The House on Thursday passed a key component of President Barack Obama’s jobs bill to repeal a 3% tax on government contractors, demonstrating a new bipartisan willingness to move forward with parts of the White House economic policy plan to create jobs.
The measure was supported by the Chamber of Commerce and passed by a wide margin, 405 to 16, with only Democrats voting against it.
The White House has signaled that the President will sign the bill into law, and House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) called on the Senate to follow its lead, even though Democrats defeated a similar proposal last week.
“The strong bipartisan vote on this measure is the latest example of both parties working together to create a better environment for private-sector job creation,” Boehner said.
“The bill repeals an unnecessary tax that would threaten thousands of jobs and hurt every small business who works with local, state and federal agencies. Repealing this tax is an important element of both our ‘Plan for America’s Job Creators’ and the President’s jobs plan, and the Senate should pass it quickly so the President can sign it into law,” Boehner said.
Critics of the contentious tax, which has been postponed by the Internal Revenue Service from taking effect since it was passed in 2006, say it would hurt the ability of small businesses to hire new employees and disrupt their cash flow. The extra cost of the tax was likely to be passed on to consumers.
“A tax bad enough to delay is a tax bad enough to repeal,” said Rep. Chip Cravaack (R.-Minn.). “I urge the Senate to consider this bill immediately, as well as the many other legislative proposals that have been passed in the House to provide greater certainty in the economy and bring a measure of relief to the millions of Americans looking for work.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R.-Va.) said it is up to the President to persuade the Senate to pass this and more than a dozen other jobs bills waiting for the Democrat-controlled body’s approval.
“The President has been traveling around the country saying that ‘we can’t wait.’ We believe that as well, and we’re not waiting,” Cantor said. “We are saying these are the items that we feel we can work together on with this President, and unify the country towards helping the economy grow again.”
The Republican-controlled House has passed more than 20 jobs-related bills this year, and all but a handful have languished in the Senate, including the President’s own proposal.
The White House says it will work with Republicans to find offsets for the cost of this bill, an estimated $11 billion.
“The repeal of the withholding requirement in HR 674 would reduce a burden on government contractors who otherwise comply with their tax obligations, particularly small businesses,” read the statement by the White House Office of Management and Budget.