The federal government today passed a bill designed to spur small-business lending by providing financial incentives to banks that make loans to smaller companies, marking a victory for President Barack Obama and his attempt to cut unemployment.

Obama will sign the bill, which he said won't increase the U.S. deficit, on Monday. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the $40 billion-plus bill by a 237-187 margin, sending it to Obama, the Associated Press reported today.

"After months of partisan obstruction and needless delay, I'm grateful that Democrats and a few Republicans came together to support this common-sense plan to put Americans back to work," Obama said in a statement today.

The government was expected to pass the bill, which Senate Democrats have estimated will create as many as 500,000 new jobs by using about $30 billion to encourage lending by investing in smaller banks while providing tax-breaks related to small businesses totaling about $12 billion, Reuters said last week. With the U.S. unemployment rate staying near 10%, President Obama is trying to work with Congress on approving spending measures that will spur economic development, especially among the middle class.

Senate passed the bill by a 61-38 margin on Sept. 16, sending it to the House of Representatives.




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