This was a vote on passage of 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.
Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL) praised the bill, calling it “a significant step to boost small business lending through our community banks.…This is an important investment by the federal government in our small business that brings tremendous returns.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) also supported the bill: “ This bill, ladies and gentlemen of the House, can go a long way towards opening up the flow of credit that helps create jobs. That's what this is about, allowing small businesses to expand, grow their businesses, hire more people, pay good salaries and benefits, and get our economy moving. I urge my colleagues to support this bill and to help our small businesses create jobs.”
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) urged opposition to the bill: “My opposition is not a question of whether or not I support small businesses, it's a question of whether or not this bill will actually help small businesses. Unfortunately, my conclusion is that this bill will not help them, but will cost the taxpayers another $33 billion--by the way, $33 billion that we don't have…. This bill allows for another $33 billion in spending that will be added to the government's credit card.”
Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) argued the bill would fail to help small businesses: “Although my [Democratic] colleagues on the other side of the aisle claim that this bill would improve small business access to much-needed capital, I am not convinced. In fact, there is virtually no guarantee that small businesses will benefit whatsoever from the funding in this bill.”
(The resolution that set a time limit for debate and determined which amendments could be offered to H.R 5297 also provided that when the House passed the bill, it would be combined with H.R. 5486, a separate small business measure that had already passed the House. 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.)
The House passed the small business lending bill by a vote of 241-182. 238 Democrats and 3 Republicans voted “yea.” 169 Republicans and 13 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result the House passed legislation establishing a loan fund aimed at small businesses seeking to hire new workers – and passed additional legislation (which was incorporated into H.R. 5297 following its passage by the House) exempting investments in small businesses from capital gains taxes.