Senate Republicans Block Small-Business Aid BillDemocrats and Republicans have failed to agree on a small business package that could inject $300 billion into the economy. The reason? You guessed it: politics.

Amid intense partisan sniping, legislation to provide aid for small businesses appeared doomed Friday morning, after Senate Republicans blocked the measure from reaching a final vote.

Democrats say the bill is necessary to spur hiring and help the economy emerge from the recession, but Republicans objected to spending increases and said they were prevented from offering amendments. Democrats countered that some of the GOP-sponsored amendments, like a border security provision, have nothing to do with small business aid. And they refuse to allow a GOP amendment designed to make the Bush-era tax cuts permanent.

It's the latest example of Republicans using procedural tactics to stymie President Barack Obama's midterm-election-year agenda. As with the battle over unemployment benefits, Democrats are using the issue to portray Republicans as more concerned with Wall Street than Main Street. Republicans accuse Democrats of profligate spending and claim they are being shut out of the legislative process.

Lawmakers have been debating the measure for nearly a month, with nothing yet to show for it. "Once again a common-sense bill that would help Americans is being held hostage by political calculation," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

Key Part of Obama's Agenda


The small-business aid bill -- a central component of what Obama has called "Recovery Summer" -- would create a $30 billion fund designed to increase lending to small businesses, in addition to providing $12 billion in small-business tax breaks over the next decade. The government says small banks could use the fund as capital to provide $300 billion in small business loans.

On Wednesday, Obama visited a small sandwich shop in Edison, N.J., for a photo-op meant to prod lawmakers into passing the bill.

"Surely, Democrats and Republicans ought to be able to agree on this bill," Obama said. "This is as American as apple pie. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They are central to our identity as a nation. They are going to lead this recovery."

But Republicans refused to let the measure reach a final vote, saying that Democrats were playing politics and shutting them out from offering amendments, despite the fact that several GOP-authored provisions are already in the bill. Republicans also objected to $1.5 billion in aid to farmers. Democrats dropped that provision at the last minute, but Republicans were unswayed.

Partisan Sniping Continues

The procedural vote was 58-41, two shy of the 60-vote threshold needed to trigger a final vote. In a sign of how bitter the partisan bickering has become, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who has crossed party lines in the past, called Democrats' handling of the bill "a disgrace."

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky mocked Democrats' inability to pass the bill. "It takes a lot of effort to make a partisan issue out of a bill that should have broad bipartisan support," said McConnell. "But our friends on the other side have managed to pull it off. They've outdone themselves."

Democrats disputed that characterization. "They wanted to offer amendments. I've agreed to offer amendments," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-Nev.). "There's nothing snarled, there's only an effort to stop passage of this bill." Facing defeat, Reid switched his vote to no at the last minute, which will allow him to raise the bill again later.

Senate Democrats have one more week to pass the bill -- which they are keen to present to voters this fall -- before they adjourn for the summer recess.

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hollybojack

WE HAVE TO GET THE REPUBLICANS OUT! THEY CREATED THE VERY MESS, THAT THEY ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT. THEY ARE STANDING IN THE WAY OF PROGRESS, FOR THEIR POLITICAL REASONS. THEY DON'T SHOW ANY INTEREST IN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, THEY ARE JUST POWER HUNGRY. THE BIG CONCERN AMONGST THE LIBERALS, FEEDING THE RICH. WE MUST VOTE THEM OUT, OR THERE WILL NEVER BE PROGRESS. THEY TOOK THE SURPLUS AND TURNED IT INTO A DEFICIT. BUSH/CHENEY STARTED BORROWING FROM CHINA, TO PAY THE BILLS, MAKING THE DEFICIT BIGGER AND BIGGER, THEY ALLOWED TAX BREAKS FOR CORPORATIONS MOVING OVERSEAS, CRIPPLING THE JOB MARKETS IN OUR COUNTRY, THEN THEY REFER TO THE PEOPLE RECIEVING UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION AS BEING SPOILED. REFERRING TO UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AS BEING UNCONSTITUTIONAL... YEARS OF CORRUPTION AND FEEDING THE RICH, WE MUST VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE!

September 21 2010 at 10:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
parrochie

It sure looks like the Dems have shown their hand in regard to extending the Bush tax cuts.....they will not extend them. Had they agreed to extend them then this bill would have passed hands down. Folks, there is a tax hike in our future...

July 30 2010 at 7:48 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
dr scott kanner

Exxon-mobil just reported a 92% increase in profits last quarter over last year...lets give them a tax break!!!! The little guys....screw em!!!

July 30 2010 at 5:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Jeff

Funny how republicans never gave a damn about the deficit when they controlled congress and the White House. But now that Obama wants to actually do something to help small business owners, they scream bloody murder over the national debt. Well, how much bigger will the national debt be if more small businesses go under? In a recession, government needs to spend money to put people back to work. People who have jobs pay taxes. But, of course, the republican hypocrites continue to take cash from big business while sticking to the little guy, just so they can block anything Obama tries to accomplish. These people are pathetic obstructionist liars.

July 30 2010 at 5:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Jeff's comment
parrochie

Jeff, I own a small business and just borrowed 150k to expand my business......without government help. the money is there if you have good credit.....if you don't then you don't deserve a loan......remember, the government loaning money to people who couldn't repay is what got us into this mess to begin with.........

July 30 2010 at 7:51 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Ray Underwood

well its about time we vote the Rebublicans that are fighting the prez out of office and I am a voter so I'll be the first one to vote them out.

July 30 2010 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
onebasshunter49

Maybe the Republicans are trying to stop more money being spent by the Democrats that may or may not work, which in turn causes the deficit to increase some more. And you know who has to cover it, right the tax payer. Yes $300 billion in small business loans, but how many are to be paid back when these small businesses go under. And the Democrats want to add an amendment to it about a border security provision, which has nothing to do with the small business package.

July 30 2010 at 4:16 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
John E. Ball

Anyone should sooner or later understand a simple principle of economics. Paying off debt will increase your value, adding debt does not. Will you idiots who want to continue increasing debt please quit whining and start paying your debts instead of whining about not being able to get a damn loan. If you can't handle it, and you are in business, maybe you should not expect everyone else to support your hobbie. Go get a job until you figure it out.

July 30 2010 at 4:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John E. Ball's comment
carolyn

Do you have any idea how many times we (the unemployed) are told to "just get a job"? No one seems to realize that we WANT to work. but there are no jobs out there. I have sent out hundreds and hundreds of resumes over the past 2 years. Only one called me in for an interview, and then they said I was over qualified since I had so many years experience and been in management for the last 15 years. The little money we get from unemployment enable us to buy food to feed or familes, keep a roof over our heads, gas in our cars for when we go out to look for jobs, and hopefully keep our utilities on if possible. The number of unemployed varies from 15 million to 25 million. Many of those who are unemployed are not counted, because they have exhausted all the benifits they were allowed to receive, so they don't count anymore. There has actually been at least 3 people I have heard of that committed suicide rather than face the hopelessness of their situation. And many, many people have lost everything, like me. I worked for over 30 years in the medical field, but lost my job 2 years ago. I have used up all of my savings and drained all of my 401K to add up to almost $30,000. And I lost my house. I finally had to declare bankruptcy a couple months ago. That nearly killed me. I have worked since I was 15, and never had to file for unemployment before now. So please don't spit on us from high on your perch. One day soon you will probably be down here with is.

July 31 2010 at 11:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lkamer56

mkpb07 because the dems passed a stimulus bill last year to stimulate the economy>>>if they want to give money to small businesses USE STIMULUS MONEY that's supposedly what it was for,

July 30 2010 at 4:13 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Enrique

Let's spend our country into extinction!

July 30 2010 at 4:10 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
mkpb07

what i don't understand is that republican's like to provide tax breaks and help for business! why would they not vote for this measure? oh! wait a minute! "small business" they don't care about "small" if it were for big business it would have been no issue. I wonder do all of you republicans making comments make over 1 mil a year? 2 mil? because honestly if you don't you would be surprised how much the republican law makers are really think of you when they make their decisions. All i'm saying is that to keep yourself swimming you don't have to drown everyone else. i can't stand how the gop tell people what to beleive and they beleive it. i'm not sayinf the demmocratic party is the best either. But why must eveyone hate fellow American's? help people out! think about your neighbor! what's wrong with everyone?

July 30 2010 at 4:09 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply