The House overwhelmingly approved a measure to eliminate a much-maligned rule requiring government agencies to withhold 3 percent of payments to government contractors. This provision, which was included in President Obama’s $450 billion “jobs” bill, passed by a vote of 405 to 16.
Earlier this week, the White House announced its support of the House bill, as well as second measure to cover the cost of repealing the rule (about $11.2 billion over ten years) by tightening eligibility requirements for Medicare and other health benefit programs, which the House also passed today, 262 to 157. The idea was taken from the president’s most recent “deficit” package.
The House has now passed a total of 17 jobs bills that are still awaiting action in the Democrat-controlled Senate, and Republicans are hoping to ramp up pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) to act. Repeal of the 3 percent withholding rule is the first item of Obama’s jobs bill to pass either chamber. The Senate has tried, and failed, to pass several other measures supported by the president.
“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,” House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said in a statement. “But Senate Democrats shouldn’t stop there. The House has passed at least 15 jobs bills that are gathering dust over in the Democratic-led Senate.”
“The President has traveled the country telling Americans, ‘We Can’t Wait’ to pass some jobs bills,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.). “Well, we aren’t waiting. We continue to pass jobs bills. Perhaps it’s time for the President to deliver the ‘We Can’t Wait’ message to the other body in the Capitol.”