Today the House of Representatives is primed to pass H.R. 2, the Jobs and Growth Act, to get people back to work and get the economy moving again. It has been estimated that this plan would create at least one million new jobs by the end of 2004. The bill increases the child tax credit to $1,000, moves more workers more quickly into lower income tax brackets, accelerates marriage penalty relief, and reduces the tax rate on dividends and capital gains. Furthermore, the Jobs and Growth bill includes a provision providing small business tax relief that mirrors legislation I introduced earlier this year. Specifically, the bill increases the amount small businesses can expense (immediately deduct) from $25,000 to $100,000. This will lower the cost of doing business for small companies, making it easier for them to invest in new equipment and hire more workers. As Congress moves to enact the President's Jobs and Growth initiative, we are also taking action to strengthen job-training opportunities for American workers. Yesterday, the House passed H.R. 1261, the Workforce Reinvestment and Adult Education Act. The bill will significantly reform the nation's workforce development programs to ensure that out-of-work Americans have access to the tools and resources they need to rejoin the workforce or retrain for better jobs. It also contains the Adult Basic Education Skills Act, which reauthorizes State programs for adult education, and a provision reauthorizing the program that provides services to help individuals with disabilities become employable and achieve full integration into society. In addition, the House this week unanimously approved H.R. 100 to provide better legal protections and increased financial security to active-duty military personnel and their families. The bill updates the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act to provide an automatic 90-day stay for civil court proceedings and protect servicemembers and their families from eviction if they do not pay rent. The measure also would prevent cancellation of life insurance policies, limit interest on outstanding loans to 6 percent, and increase payments to families of those overseas. With an eye on preventing potential public health and environmental catastrophes, the House on Wednesday passed H.R. 866 to enhance security at the nation's sewage treatment facilities. The bill helps states conduct vulnerability assessments and take steps to reduce the potential damage that terrorist attacks could cause to treatment facilities. What's on Tap for Next Week? Next week, the House of Representatives will again be focused on pocketbook issues, taking up pension protection legislation for workers with company-issued stock in their portfolios.
With kind regards,
May 9, 2003