Senate Approves Bipartisan Jobs Bill

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The Senate has approved a $35 billion bill aimed at lowering the growing unemployment in the U.S.

Lawmakers approved the bipartisan bill by a 70-28 vote.

The new jobs bill will offer tax breaks to companies that hire unemployed workers. Those businesses would be exempt from the 6 percent Social Security payroll tax through December. They would also get an additional $1,000 credit for hiring new workers

The legislation also spends $20 billion to extend mass transit programs.

Thirteen Republicans voted in favor of the legislation.

"I came to Washington to be an independent voice, to put politics aside and to do everything in my power to help create jobs for Massachusetts families," GOP Sen. Scott Brown said.  "This Senate jobs bill is not perfect... but I voted for it because it contains measures that will help put people back to work."

Democrats hope the bill's approval will lead to greater bipartisanship.

"To focus on jobs and to do it in a bipartisan way is what the American people are asking us to do," Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer said. "Today we have started down that road."

Republicans opposed to the bill said it will add to the soaring deficit. They blasted Democrats for breaking a new budget rule that requires spending programs not to increase the deficit.

The jobs bill now heads to the House for approval.  Its passage would hand President Barack Obama a badly needed political victory.

Meanwhile, experts say the 8.4 million jobs wiped out in the recession won't fully come back until 2013.

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