The US Senate is sending the first of several promised election-year jobs bills to President Barack Obama for his signature.
It would provide a temporary payroll tax holiday to companies that hire and would pump $20 billion into the federal highway construction fund to make up for low gasoline tax revenues. Critics argue that it is not the job-creating engine Democrats have advertised.
The bill was passed Wednesday on a bipartisan 68-29 vote. Democrats promise additional jobs legislation, but concerns about the deficit are slowing progress. The new measure would exempt businesses hiring unemployed from the 6.2 percent payroll tax through December and give employers an additional $1,000 credit if new workers stay on the job a full year.