Amid much fanfare at the White House, President Obama signed his first job creation bill Thursday.
The $17.6 billion measure calls for tax breaks for businesses and additional infrastructure spending with the hope of boosting employment.
This is the first jobs legislation to hit the president's desk since he trumpeted the need to spur hiring during January's State of the Union address.
It took weeks to get the bill through Congress. However, it is viewed by some lawmakers, economists and business leaders as relatively small and ineffective.
The legislation will:
– Exempt employers from Social Security payroll taxes on new hires who were unemployed.
– Fund highway and transit programs through 2010.
– Extend a tax break for business that spend money on capital investments, such as equipment purchases.
– Expand the use of the Build America Bonds program, which helps states and municipalities fund capital construction projects.
The bill is a slimmed down version of an $85 billion bipartisan measure crafted by the Senate Finance Committee last month. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., stripped out these four measures and put them into a separate bill, saying he hoped lawmakers would approve it more quickly. It passed the Senate on Feb. 24.