The U.S. Senate passed a bill Thursday designed to spur small-business lending by providing financial incentives to banks that make loans to smaller companies, marking a victory of sorts for an Obama administration attempting to show voters it's addressing the public's concerns about the economy, Reuters reported.
The bill, which was widely expected to be approved by the Senate, passed by a 61-38 margin, and now heads back to the House of Representatives, the wire service said. Democrats have estimated that the bill could create as many as 500,000 new jobs, according to Reuters.
With the U.S. unemployment rate still near 10%, President Obama is trying to work with Congress on approving spending measures that will spur economic development, especially among the middle class. Earlier Thursday, Obama indicated that the bill has taken too long to be approved, according to Reuters.
The bill would create $30 billion in funding used by the government to encourage lending by investing in smaller banks while providing tax-breaks related to small businesses totaling about $12 billion, Reuters said.