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Thune Introduces Amendment to UI Bill to Address Job Creation

Senate GOP amendment would actually help create jobs for the millions of unemployed Americans

April 3, 2014

Washington, D.C. — 

Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, led a number of his colleagues today in introducing legislation that would stimulate job creation through energy development, ObamaCare relief, regulatory reform, and tax relief that is targeted to increase small business investment. Thune’s Good Jobs, Good Wages, and Good Hours Act (S.Amdt. 2959) has been offered as an amendment to Senate Democrats’ emergency unemployment benefits bill (H.R. 3879).

“Rather than simply trying to perpetually treat the symptoms of unemployment and allowing Americans to suffer in the stagnant Obama economy, it’s time for Congress to get serious about addressing the cause of the problem,” said Thune. “Over 3.8 million Americans have been unemployed for six months or longer; we need to do everything we can to make it easier and less expensive for these men and women to find jobs. No matter how you spin it, no matter what government benefit you try to throw at it, there is no substitute for a job. My amendment would help create good-paying jobs by reining in burdensome regulatory requirements, shielding workers from the damaging effects of ObamaCare, approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and providing permanent tax relief to employers looking to expand and hire.”

Thune’s amendment is comprised of four key sections: 

  • Energy Development: The bill would explicitly authorize the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and would require the Department of Energy to approve liquefied natural gas export applications to Ukraine, Japan, and NATO countries. It would block the Environmental Protection Agency regulations of greenhouse gas emissions for new and existing power plants, and it would create a point of order against any legislation that would establish a carbon tax.
  • ObamaCare Relief: The bill would amend the definition of a full-time employee under ObamaCare from an employee who works 30 hours per week to an employee who works 40 hours per week. It would also delay for one year any provision of ObamaCare that is scheduled to take effect on or after January 1, 2014, such as the individual mandate. The bill would repeal the 2.3 percent medical device excise tax that was enacted as part of ObamaCare. It would also exempt the long-term unemployed from the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for certain businesses to provide health insurance or pay a fine for each uninsured employee and would exempt veterans from the ObamaCare employer mandate headcount. Finally, the bill would repeal the rest of ObamaCare that was not repealed by the previous sections.
  • Tax Relief: The bill would make permanent the $500,000 expensing limit for small businesses. It would also permanently expand cash accounting to firms with annual gross receipts of up to $10 million, including businesses with inventories, as well as double the maximum allowable deduction for start-up costs to $10,000. Additionally, the bill would make permanent the 100 percent exclusion for investments in qualified small business stock, increase the gross asset limit from $50 million to $150 million and index this limit for inflation. It would allow a deduction for health insurance costs in computing self-employment taxes and would permanently extend the reduction in s-corp built-in gains tax. Finally, the bill would permanently place the self-employed on a level playing field with other businesses that currently exclude health insurance costs for both income and payroll tax purposes.
  • Regulatory Reform and Worker Training:  The bill would enact common-sense reforms of the federal rulemaking process. It would require that agencies conduct a cost-benefit analysis and consider alternatives to proposed regulations. It would also require advanced public notice of major rulemakings with greater than $100 million in annual costs. It also includes the House-passed SKILLS Act, which reforms and streamlines federal worker training programs and empowers Governors to further improve worker training programs.
Thune’s amendment includes several proposals from Senate Republican members that have been offered to the emergency unemployment benefits bill. For a detailed summary, please click here. It is unclear whether Senate Democrats will allow a vote on this amendment. To date, all amendments to the UI bill have been blocked.