H.R. 2352, the Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009 amended the Small Business Act to expanded access to business counseling, training and networking to small business owners, including underserved populations such as women, veterans and Native Americans. This was a vote on the resolution or “rule” setting the terms for debate of the bill. The rule limited the amendments that could be offered by individual Members. The debate focused both on the rule and on the underlying bill itself.
Rep. Polis (D-CO), who was leading the effort on behalf of the rule, claimed that it represented “a giant step forward in ensuring a bright future for all Americans who are struggling to establish or grow their own businesses.” Polis called the bill “bipartisan”, and said it “represents what we can accomplish when Republicans and Democrats work together. While there are many ideological and political differences on how to address the economic crisis, this bill is a product of consensus.”
Rep. Foxx (R-NC), acknowledged that the bill had some Republican support, but expressed concern that the rule limited the number of amendments that could be offered. She said that this was “a great opportunity for the majority to have given an opportunity for us (the Republican minority) to offer a lot of amendments to the bill . . . And I'm very concerned about the process . . . because we haven't gone through a process that I think would have been fair to our side of the aisle.
Foxx also said that while the bill is well-intentioned, “what small businesses, the engine of our economy, need are things that are different from this bill.” She said to the Democratic majority that “we come from two different world views in terms of how we approach this kind of an issue” and suggested that the bill is not really going to create jobs, other than for bureaucrats, and that the impact of its provisions had not been adequately evaluated and lacked accountability.
Rep. Polis responded by noting that the Republicans had only asked to have three amendments made in order under the rule, that two were excluded because they would have violated House procedures, and the other was made in order under the rule. He also claimed that the bill would create 73,000 needed new jobs. Foxx’ replay was to suggest that the federal government would pay a great deal to create those jobs. She referenced the previously-passed economic stimulus legislation that the Republicans opposed and said “in much of the legislation that has been passed this year, there has been a great cost to the jobs (created).”
The debate then moved to the merits of some other matters that had either been ruled non-germane, or were in other pieces of legislation. The Republicans complained that an amendment to revise the estate tax would help small businesses, but was not permitted to be offered to this bill. The Democrats made the point that no Republicans supported the economic stimulus legislation that had been passed earlier in the session, and noted that it contained some tax changes to help small businesses.
The resolution passed by a vote of 247-175 along almost straight party lines. All two hundred and forty-seven “aye” votes were cast by Democrats. Two other Democrats joined all one hundred and seventy-three and voted “nay”. As a result, the House was able to move on to debate the 2009 Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act.