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Lending Fund Back in Senate Small Biz Bill

By Jason Beahm on July 23, 2010 1:11 PM

Call it the comeback kid.

The Senate has voted to end debate on a small business jobs bill, 60 to 37. The bill would restore the lending fund to the jobs bill. Under the bill, the Treasury Department would provide as much as $30 billion to banks with under $10 billion in assets in order to spark loans for small businesses. The bill includes provisions designed to lower small business loan rates. Many have called for a small business bailout since the big banks and other large corporations received funds under TARP. However, proponents contend this is not a TARP for small business. The bill has already passed the House.

The vote, which came Thursday night, is a procedural move that will allow the bill to be brought before the Senate for a vote. A spokeswoman for Nevada Senator Harry Reid, a Democrat, said the Senate will likely vote on the amendment to the bill early next week. The amendment also added efforts to promote exports and to lower Medicare payment fraud.

Once the bill comes before the Senate, it will only require a simple majority to pass. Because the bill already received 60 votes in order to end debate, it stands a very good chance of passing next week and being quickly signed into law by President Obama, who has been a strong proponent of the bill. The Obama administration first proposed the lending fund.

In Obama's January State of the Union address, he highlighted the importance of small businesses in the economic recovery. Despite his emphasis on this aspect of the agenda, until recently it looked like Congress might be unable to get it passed. After Thursday night, it suddenly looks not only possible, but likely.

Small businesses that are interested in how the bill might impact them can take a look at the New York Times Politics and Government blog, which has details and analysis of the bill.

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