Democrats want to push tax cuts through the Senate for companies that hire people, give raises or buy major equipment this year.
With neither party eager to let the other claim campaign-season legislative victories, the proposal's ultimate fate is dubious.
Senate debate was to begin Tuesday.
The Democratic plan would give 10 percent tax credits to companies for the amount by which their 2012 payrolls exceed last year's salaries, for hiring new workers or for giving raises to current employees. The maximum credit would be $500,000.
It would let companies deduct the full amount of major purchases, such as machinery, from their tax bills this year. That deduction would otherwise be 50 percent.
On Monday, President Barack Obama proposed broad tax cuts for
everyone but the highest earners.