This was a procedural vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation intended to increase lending to small businesses. If passed, this particular procedural motion -- known as the “previous question" -- effectively ends debate and brings the pending legislation to an immediate vote.
H.R. 5297 established a “Small Business Lending Fund,” and authorizing the Treasury Department to make up to $30 billion of capital investments in banks with total assets of $10 billion or less. The loan fund was aimed at small businesses seeking to hire new workers. The measure also established the “Small Business Credit Initiative Program.” This initiative provided $2 billion to help states increase private lending to small businesses.
This resolution also provided that when the House passed H.R. 5297 (which established the small business loan fund), it would be combined with H.R. 5486--a separate small business bill that had already passed the House, but had never been voted on in the Senate. H.R. 5486 exempted investments in small businesses from capital gains taxes. Thus, once H.R. 5297 was passed, these two small business measures were combined into a single bill.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) praised the bill: “…In 2008, after years of lax regulation and Wall Street roulette, our nation's economy fell off a cliff. Within a matter of months, many Wall Street giants fell, and they took the livelihoods of thousands of small businesses with them....The underlying bill, the Small Business Lending Fund Act, establishes a process for community banks to lend responsibly to small businesses.”
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) urged opposition to the resolution and the underlying bill: “…It is really just another bank bailout. The bill is intended to give the appearance that they're [the Democrats] doing something. It appears the ruling liberal Democrat regime has completely given up on even trying to pretend they are capable of budgeting or of even governing this country.”
The House agreed to the previous question motion by a vote of 241-179. 241 Democrats voted “yea.” 172 Republicans and 7 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to a final vote on a resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to legislation intended to increase lending to small businesses.