This was a 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.
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 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. John Yarmuth (D-KY) praised the bill and accused Republicans of trying to resurrect the economic policies of former President George W. Bush: “…The steps that we propose to take in this Small Business Act [H.R. 5297]…are steps that we believe are worth trying, that will be an affirmative effort to grow jobs in the small business segment of the economy to make capital available…to motivate small business operators to grow their businesses, to start new businesses. These are the steps that this Congress and this [Obama] administration are taking to grow the economy. It is better than sitting in the cheap seats and saying we want to go back to the [Bush] agenda that put us in the ditch.”
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) argued the legislation was fiscally irresponsible: “…This debate is not just about whether or not we are acting responsibly here. It is what we are doing with the hard-earned taxpayer money. We are talking about money here, and this bill that you are talking about spends an extra $33 billion that we do not have…”
The House agreed to the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to H.R. 5297 by a vote of 237-179. 237 Democrats voted “yea.” 169 Republicans and 10 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation intended to increase lending to small businesses.