President Obama Signs $18 Billion Jobs Bill

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President Obama signed the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE) Thursday, providing $18 billion in tax credits to businesses. The legislation aims to encourage hiring and reduce the country's persistently high unemployment rate, which currently stands at 9.7%.

The act exempts companies from the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax for new hires who were unemployed for the previous two months, and gives companies a $1000 tax credit if those employees stay employed for at least a year. There are also write-offs for equipment purchases, an expansion of the Build America Bonds program, and $20 billion for road maintenance and transit construction.