SENATE APPROVES JOBS BILL…. I guess we’ll have to take signs of progress where we can find them.

The Senate easily passed a $15 billion jobs bill on Wednesday morning amid hope that the measure could provide a blueprint for other items on President Obama’s agenda.

The measure passed 70 to 28, with 13 Republicans joining 57 Democrats in support of the package. One Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, voted against it.

“We’ve had so much gridlock,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), co-author of a key portion of the bill. Now, he said, “finally we have something” bipartisan to show the public.

Remember, this is a modest, scaled-back jobs bill, made up almost entirely of tax cuts, which Republicans claim to support, in the midst of an employment crisis. And yet, more than half of the Republicans in the Senate voted against the legislation.

The measure now heads to the House, which already passed a bolder, more ambitious, and more effective jobs bill. Will the House settle for the stripped-down Senate version? House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) predicted this morning that it would.

As for the measure itself, it’s hard to get too excited about a $15 billion measure, the bulk of which is a payroll-tax exemption for companies who hire workers this year. It also features a $1,000 tax credit for employers who keep new workers on the job for at least a year, and a provision to allow businesses to write off some capital investments.

That said, the Democratic leadership continues to emphasize that this will be the first of several bills related to job creation to be considered in the near future.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.