The Scoop on the American Jobs Act of 2011

President Obama presented the American Jobs Act of 2011 on September 8th and sent it to Congress on September 12th. Want to know what it's all about? Here’s the rundown.

How does it help…

  • the unemployed? It makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against unemployed job applicants because of their unemployed status, and would extend unemployment benefits, among other provisions.

  • employers? It cuts the payroll tax in half for 98 percent of companies. It also gives a $4,000 bonus to employers who hire the long-term unemployed.

  • veterans? It creates a “Returning Heroes” tax credit to employers who hire vets, and calls for a “reverse boot camp” to train soldiers for civilian life.

  • schools? $30 billion is earmarked in the act to improve infrastructure and facilities at elementary and secondary schools and community colleges.

  • my state? The White House let's you choose your state to see the impact (under “See the Facts”).

What will the bill cost?

  • Most estimates put the cost at $447 billion.

How will the bill be paid for?

  • It modifies itemized deductions for families earning more than $250,000, and taxes profits called “carried interest” as ordinary income.

  • It closes some tax loopholes and reforms preferential treatment for certain sectors, like oil and coal.

Will it help?

  • It would boost gross domestic product and reduce unemployment in the short term, according to some economists.

  • Critics say the American Jobs Act is mostly a replay of the 2009 stimulus.

Does it have a chance of passing?

  • Short answer: Not intact.

  • House Republicans circulated a memo laying out which parts of the president’s plan they'll fight.

  • Some Democrats have also been critical of the bill, and suggested voting for each part of the bill separately.