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Reid Pares Down Baucus-Grassley Jobs Bill

This is good news, because the Baucus-Grassley version was a $80 billion bipartisan boondoggle that was packed with tax breaks and did very little t

This is good news, because the Baucus-Grassley version was a $80 billion bipartisan boondoggle that was packed with tax breaks and did very little that would actually, you know, create jobs:

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced Thursday that his chamber would move quickly to pass four popular provisions aimed at creating jobs, potentially with the bipartisan backing that has proven elusive in recent months.

The provisions were plucked from a broader package of business incentives and unemployment aid negotiated by Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and his GOP counterpart, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa). But instead of advancing the bigger bill, Reid announced that he would break it into two parts, bringing the jobs-related incentives to a vote on Feb. 22. The remaining measures would move later as a separate bill.

"We feel that the American people need a message," Reid told reporters Thursday. "The message that they need is that we're doing something about jobs."

All the fast-tracked provisions have bipartisan support, but GOP senators were caught off-guard by Reid's bifurcated strategy, announced just as Republicans were releasing statements in praise of the larger bill. Senior Democratic aides said Reid made the move to quell squabbling among Democrats about the contents of the larger bill amid rising criticism that the legislation included too many special-interest perks.

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