WASHINGTON — Local governments would receive billions of dollars for construction projects and welfare programs under a bill passed Wednesday in the House, the latest in a series of election-year jobs bills Democrats are pushing in Congress. The bill combines $13.2 billion in interest subsidies for local construction bonds with $3.6 billion in tax cuts for small businesses and $2.5 billion in aid to states to pay for expanded welfare programs through September 2011.

WASHINGTON — Local governments would receive billions of dollars for construction projects and welfare programs under a bill passed Wednesday in the House, the latest in a series of election-year jobs bills Democrats are pushing in Congress. The bill combines $13.2 billion in interest subsidies for local construction bonds with $3.6 billion in tax cuts for small businesses and $2.5 billion in aid to states to pay for expanded welfare programs through September 2011.

The House passed the measure 246-178, with nearly all Republicans opposed. It now goes to the Senate.

The Democrats aim to pass a series of modest measures to address unemployment as congressional elections approach in November. With unemployment hovering near 10 percent, jobs and the economy are sure to be big issues in elections.

Last week, President Barack Obama signed a bill that offers tax breaks to companies that hire unemployed workers. On Wednesday, the House also passed a bill that would provide $5.1 billion to fund local disaster relief projects, including some that date back to Hurricane Katrina, and $600 million for summer jobs programs. The bill passed 239-175.

Democrats said the economy is starting to rebound, but with high unemployment persisting, they will continue to work on the issue.

"The recovery program is beginning to work, this will make it work better," said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich. chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said, "As long as millions of Americans remain out of work, through no fault of their own, we have not reached the goal."

Republicans said the bills are evidence that last year's massive economic recovery package was ineffective.

"Another week, another stimulus," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

Republicans said the tax cuts in the bill passed Wednesday are too small and the spending too inefficient to make a significant dent in joblessness. They also opposed a key provision to pay for the bill, a crackdown on multinational companies that use tax havens to avoid taxes on profits made in the U.S.

"This bill increases spending, increases taxes and will not create private sector jobs," said Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee.

The largest provision in the bill would expand the Buy America Bonds program, which subsidizes interest costs paid by local governments when they borrow for construction projects. The program, which was included in the economic stimulus package enacted last year, would be extended though March 2013, at a cost of $7.5 billion.

The bill would also exempt long-term investments in certain small businesses from capital gains taxes. The economic stimulus package allowed investors to exempt 75 percent of the gains from such investments for 2009 and 2010. The new bill would exempt all the gains from taxation for qualified stock purchased from March 15 through the end of 2011, at a cost of about $2 billion.

The bill would be paid for in large part from a series of measures designed to crack down on companies that avoid taxes through aggressive tax planning.

The biggest provision would raise an estimated $7.7 billion by preventing some foreign multinational corporations from avoiding withholding taxes on U.S. profits by funneling those profits through subsidiaries in different countries.

The provision targets corporations based in countries that don't have tax treaties with the U.S., such as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. Those companies are required to pay withholding taxes on profits made in the U.S., unless they funnel the profits through subsidiaries in other countries that do have treaties with the U.S., said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas.

"If I were a multinational tax dodger, I would think my taxes had gone up under this bill, and they should," said Doggett, who wrote the provision.

The bill would also raise $4.5 billion over the next decade by limiting taxpayers' ability to avoid gifts taxes by setting up trusts known as Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, or GRATs. Another provision would raise $2.5 billion by increasing reporting requirements for people who write off expenses on rental property.