Obama Signs Jobs Bill, Says More Must be Done
President Barack Obama has signed into law a package of tax breaks and spending designed to give the nation a jobs boost.
In a sunny Rose Garden ceremony, Obama said the legislation will help the private sector start hiring again.
It is the first of several jobs measures promised by Democrats this year.
"Now, make no mistake: While this jobs bill is absolutely necessary, it is by no means enough," Obama said in remarks prepared for the signing ceremony.
The legislation includes about $18 billion in tax breaks and $20 billion into highway and transit programs.
There's plenty of skepticism that the new law will do much to actually create jobs. Optimistic estimates predict the tax break could generate perhaps 250,000 jobs through the end of the year, but that would be just a sliver of the 8.4 million jobs lost since the start of the recession.
"There is a lot more we need to do to spur hiring in the private sector and bring about full economic recovery—from helping credit-worthy small businesses get the loans they need to expand, to offering incentives to make homes and businesses more energy-efficient, to investing in infrastructure so we can put Americans to work doing the work America needs done," Obama said.
Small businesses in particular will benefit from provisions in the bill, the president said.
"Many of them are on the fence right now about whether to bring on that extra worker or two, or whether to hire anyone at all," Obama said.
"This jobs bill should help make their decision that much easier."
Businesses that hire anyone who has been without a job for at least 60 days would be exempt from paying the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax through December. Employers also would get an additional $1,000 credit if new workers remain on the job a full year.
In a show of bipartisanship toward the election-year goal of job creation, the Senate passed the bill Wednesday with 11 Republicans among the 68 senators who voted to send it to the president.