CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misstated the amount of money the bill could give to small businesses. It is $85 billion.
Amid deep disagreements in Congress over jobs legislation, freshman Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are offering a bipartisan jobs bill in hopes of finding something both parties can agree on in the near future.
The aptly named AGREE (American Growth, Recovery, Empowerment, and Entrepreneurship) Act includes ideas from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and from President Obama compiled into one piece of legislation. The more modest, bipartisan proposal is specifically geared toward, well, passing. "We can't sit around for another 12 months and bicker," Rubio said on Wednesday on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "We've got to get some progress done."
"There are significant issues between our parties. That's why we have elections, and hopefully a debate, over the next year on those issues. There are things we agree on, hence the title of the bill," Rubio said. "Let's have an election about the thing we don't agree on, but we can't sit around for another 12 months and bicker. We've got to get some progress done."
The bill should put as much as $85 billion in the hands of small businesses, the senators said. According to CNN, the AGREE legislation includes provisions to help veterans start businesses and to encourage manufacturers to hire American workers.
Coons said one provision to reform the tax code that Republicans and Democrats could agree on is reform of the research and development tax credit, which is weeks away from expiring and has already been extended multiple times.
"By some estimates, making it permanent would create hundreds of thousands of jobs," Coons said. "Certainty about the availability of a tax benefit is one of the major barriers to companies investing in R&D.... This bill includes a proposal that would encourage companies who invent things here to make them here by giving them an expanded credit."