Dems plan jobs bill, challenging GOP’s acts |

Dems plan jobs bill, challenging GOP’s acts

WASHINGTON (AP) – Scuffling over jobs and taxes, congressional Democrats began refining their election-year jobs package Tuesday in a challenge to Republicans to balance their party’s complaints about big spending with action to help unemployed Americans.

At the same time, the Democrats’ effort promises to test President Barack Obama’s own ability to set the legislative agenda,

Democratic senators were seeking bipartisan support for tax incentives to businesses that add payroll this year. Many Republicans were noncommittal, but they promised an election year fight against Obama’s long-stated plan to let income tax rates return to higher levels for families making more than $250,000 a year.

Republicans said the income tax increases would hurt the same small businesses Obama is trying to help, because many small businesses are taxed the same as households. Many Democrats have opposed the tax cuts, initiated by President George W. Bush, for years.

Democrats hope to pass a series of jobs bills in the coming weeks, starting with one that features tax incentives for businesses that add payroll. The proposal emerging in the Senate is modeled after a bill by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.