Senators outlined an $85 billion jobs bill, but Majority Leader Harry Reid quickly replaced it with a stripped-down $15 billion alternative. The original measure was a rare bipartisan effort crafted by Democrat Max Baucus and Republican Charles Grassley. But Reid scrapped it, fearing voter reaction to such pork-laden provisions as billions in corporate tax breaks and agricultural assistance for Arkansas.

The new legislation offers incentives for investment in public-works projects, and a tax credit for companies that hire people who have been unemployed for at least 60 days. “In the states, we were all hoping to see a robust jobs bill,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. “We’re absolutely confounded.”