Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, my friend the majority leader mentioned the small business jobs bill. I recently had an opportunity to talk to Senator Snowe, who is the author of that legislation. I assured her we are anxious to move forward. I appreciate his bringing up the discussion we have been having about reaching a consent agreement that would allow us to expedite the bill. I know my friend from Nevada shares my view that small business is an area that needs attention. We are going to continue to try to come to agreement to move forward with that very important piece of legislation which I support and I believe most Members of my conference do as well.
Mr. REID. Mr. President, as I have said before, this legislation is bipartisan. Most of the bill has been crafted in the past when Senator Snowe was chairman of the Small Business Committee. I am glad to hear my friend Senator Snowe has had a conversation with the Republican leader. That is good news. We will see what we can do to move on. I hope everyone realizes that jobs in America are not created in large numbers by big companies; it is small businesses.
In the past few months, we passed a relatively small piece of legislation, but it has been extremely helpful to small business. We extended the highway bill for a year. That saved 1 million jobs in America, hundreds of jobs in Nevada. We also had a provision that was unique and has created some jobs that has been extremely helpful. If somebody is out of work for 60 days, they can be hired for 30 hours. We don't set what price they can be hired, the minimum wage or whatever. At the end of their report period for withholding, they don't have to pay the withholding tax. At the end of a year, we give them a $1,000 tax credit for every employee. We also did something that was totally bipartisan, a bill developed by Senators SCHUMER and HATCH. That is what I just talked about. That was totally bipartisan. We had another provision in that bill that said that a small business, if they wanted to buy a piece of equipment, whether it was an automobile, furniture, whatever it might be, no longer had to depreciate that. Up to $250,000, they could simply write it off. We also added to that bill some money for Build America Bonds which local governments loved. That has created some jobs, but it is relatively small compared to the other things we have in this bill before the Senate now. I am glad to hear what the distinguished Republican leader had to say about that.
Mr. McCONNELL. The majority leader is entirely correct about the importance of small business. We know it creates the vast majority of jobs. There is no question that small business at this particular point is kind of frozen with concern about the economy, about increased regulation, the potential for increased taxation as well. Senator Snowe has certainly been the leader on our side on focusing on small business and small business job development. I am hoping we can work out a way to go forward on a bipartisan basis. It sounds to me as though both sides agree on the premise. Now if we can get a procedure for moving forward, hopefully we can address this most important subject.