NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Senate's slow-moving effort to spur job creation was thrown into turmoil Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Democrats will offer a slimmed down jobs bill. Only hours earlier, a key Republican and key Democratic issued a more comprehensive measure that they said had bipartisan support.
The switch left many on snowed-in Capitol Hill scratching their heads, wondering why Reid lopped off most of the provisions included in the draft legislation unveiled earlier by Senate Finance Committee's Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
"The Reid announcement undermines the carefully crafted Baucus-Grassley effort and throws sand in the gears of bipartisan negotiation," a Grassley spokeswoman said.
A Democratic aide said Reid was concerned about the Senate's ability to pass a larger bill.
"It was unclear how much Republican support we would have gotten for a bigger bill, but there is no reason that this slim-downed bill, focusing specifically on Baucus-Grassley-backed job creation measures, shouldn't pass with overwhelming bipartisan support," she said.
The Reid measure, which covers only a fraction of the provisions in the Baucus-Grassley bill, would:
Reid said he hopes to bring up the measure for a vote when Congress returns from its President's Day recess on Feb. 22.
Put on the back burner are: extending the deadline to file for federal unemployment insurance and the subsidy for Cobra health insurance, which expire Feb. 28, as well as extending many tax and health care provisions from last year.
Without an extension, nearly 1.2 million workers will become ineligible for federal unemployment benefits in March, according to the National Employment Law Project. Reid hopes to get to jobless benefits after the recess.
Feeling heat from the White House, Reid has advocated for a comprehensive jobs bill for weeks, while trying to negotiate a bipartisan agreement with the GOP, which secured a crucial 41st seat last month. The House passed a $154 billion job creation bill in December.
A Senate agreement began taking shape last week, when Senators Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, unveiled a plan to prod businesses to hire the unemployed that drew praise from both sides of the aisle. Then, a 362-page draft of an $85 billion job creation bill circulated among senators on Tuesday.
The comprehensive draft bill from Baucus and Grassley drew praise both from President Obama and key Republican senators on Thursday.
"The President is gratified to see the Senate moving forward in a bipartisan manner on steps to help put Americans back to work," the White House said in a statement.
But it's not clear how much support the Reid bill has among senators, both Republicans and Democrats. Members of both parties have expressed concern about pieces that were stripped out. The more comprehensive bill included provisions that would benefited dozens of industries, from Hollywood filmmakers to southern chicken farmers.
The dust-up came hours after the White House's top economic adviser issued an annual report showing that hiring will remain slow this year. Unemployment is expected to hover at 10% in 2010 and not drop to 2008 levels, which stood at 5.8%, for another seven years.
Nike is opening up shop on Amazon.com and the company plans "big shifts" over the coming year. More
The Congressional Budget Office narrows its projection for when Treasury will run short on money if Congress doesn't raise or suspend the country's debt ceiling. More
When it comes to censoring hate groups, some want to see Facebook do more. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More
Making the transition from being a full-time employee to gig worker isn't easy. You'll need to restructure your finances to ensure income security and make sure you're not selling yourself short. More