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.
[The House of Representatives had already passed a small business loan bill in June 2010. The Senate amended that bill and sent it back to the House. House Democratic leaders then decided to bring up the Senate-passed bill.]
Specifically, this bill 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. As passed by the Senate, the bill also provided $1.5 billion to states to administer small business loan programs at the state level. The measure also allowed small businesses to use government loans provided by the Small Business Administration to refinance existing debt.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) urged support for the resolution and the underlying legislation: “As we invest in our small businesses, we forge a path toward economic prosperity for so many Americans--not only for small business owners, but for those who will be employed by these companies. Improving small business access to capital will foster innovation and encourage the development of new products and services to carry our country forward. Simply put…we have to act now. It's the right thing to do. All of my colleagues who have gone home and talked to their constituents, and particularly to small business owners, know that this issue of extending credit is a big deal. They want us to help, and that's what this bill is about.”
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) compared the bill to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) -- a law enacted in response to the 2008 economic crisis. (TARP, which many conservatives opposed, was intended to thaw the frozen lending market, thus making loans available to businesses.) Instead, Diaz-Balart contended that House should extend income tax cuts enacted under the second Bush administration in 2001 and 2003: “We on the minority side, the Republicans, believe that lowering taxes on small businesses would do far more to help create jobs and lead us out of this recession. One hundred days from today, the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts will expire and every American taxpayer will see tax increases at exactly the wrong time. Instead of taking clear, concrete action to reduce the tax burden on small businesses, the majority brings us junior TARP today.”
The House agreed to the resolution setting a time limit for debate and determining which amendments could be offered to the small business bill by a vote of 226-186. 226 Democrats voted “yea.” All 170 Republicans present and 16 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House proceeded to formal floor debate on legislation intended to increase lending to small businesses.