Senate Passes Bill to Aid Small Businesses
Published: September 16, 2010
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday approved a multi-billion dollar package of tax breaks and government-backed loans for small businesses, as Democrats surmounted months of opposition by Republican leaders. Backers say the bill could spur business growth and new hiring.
“Small businesses are the major job creators in our economy, and this legislation will ensure that our small businesses have the tax incentives and credit they need to expand and hire,” said Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California.
The vote on the small-business measure was 61 to 38, with just two Republicans, George V. Voinovich of Ohio and George LeMieux of Florida, joining Democrats in voting in favor. The legislation now goes to the House, where leaders hope to quickly win approval and send it to President Obama, who is eager to sign it.
In addition to providing tax breaks and enhancing a number of existing aid programs run by the Small Business Administration, the legislation would create a $30 billion lending program administered by the Treasury to channel government-back loans through community banks.
Asked if he was disappointed that more Republicans had not supported the measure, Mr. LeMieux said, “I’m just glad we were able to pass it.” He noted that Florida has more than 2 million small businesses that stand to benefit from the legislation.
Other Republicans said that while the measure had some worthwhile elements, it did not go far enough to reduce the anxiety of business operators.
“Any good in this bill is greatly outweighed by what’s missing,” said Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah.
The small-business bill is likely to be the last major piece of legislation on economic and jobs issues that Democrats can accomplish before lawmakers leave Washington in early October to turn their full attention to campaigning.