A scaled-down version of the jobs bill will resurface in the U.S. Senate as soon as today, and despite concerns about growing long-term deficits, Maine’s senators should get on board.

The most immediate problem facing Maine and the nation is that the economy is growing slowly and producing too few new jobs. The failure to pass this bill now could result in public-sector layoffs that would add to our economic woes, not solve them. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe should find a way to vote “yes” on this legislation.

The bill would, among other things, provide aid to state Medicaid programs and take some pressure off budgets, including Maine’s. The current state budget assumed that $84 million would be coming from Washington, as was approved in an earlier version of the bill passed by the Senate.

If the federal government does not come through with this money, the Legislature could be called back into session to further reduce spending. That would likely result in cuts to human services and education funding, since that is where most state dollars are spent. These cuts would be distributed disproportionately, with the school districts most reliant on state funding taking the brunt of the cuts while communities with higher property values are less affected.

That would mean that although we are already struggling with high unemployment, we would see more people lose their jobs and incomes, leaving less money to circulate through our communities.

The jobs bill has fallen victim to a growing — and valid — concern about the nation’s long-term deficits, which are projected to exceed $1 trillion by the end of the fiscal year. But now is not the time to balance the budget.

In his testimony to Congress last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that the economy would never be stable until the gap between how much the government takes in and how much it spends is closed. But Bernanke said that shouldn’t happen until the economy has returned to normal. As long as the crisis still exists, Bernanke said, the government needs to continue taking “necessary policy actions to ease the recession and steady financial markets.”

The jobs bill has fallen victim to a highly charged political environment. Conservative Democrats, particularly ones from Republican-leaning states who face tough re-election challenges this year, have withdrawn their support, citing high-minded concerns about the state of government spending. New England’s three Republican senators, Collins, Snowe and Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who are not running for re-election this year, should cross party lines and back this necessary support for the weak recovery.