This was a vote on final passage of 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. Melissa Bean (D-IL) urged support for the bill: “The Small Business Jobs Act [the bill being debated] is one of the most important bills this year to support our economic recovery. During the small business federal resource seminars that I hold in my district, community business owners have told me again and again that lack of access to affordable credit remains their greatest obstacle to business recovery, expansion and diversification. This critical and timely bill will help bridge that gap.”
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) argued the bill would help small businesses recover from the recession that began in 2008: “Throughout the two-year recession, we saw banks stop providing credit, and small businesses shedding jobs and closing their doors….today we will pass a comprehensive small business job creation measure to allow small businesses to lead this recovery as they have aptly done in the past.”
Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) opposed the bill: “Small business owners aren't looking for more government intervention and more wasteful spending. They are looking for some certainty. Small business owners are looking for a commitment from Washington leaders that their taxes are going to stay the same. They need a commitment that they won't be bombarded with more job-killing regulations. Most of all, they need to feel confident that they can hire new workers and can invest in their businesses without the fear that next week, next month or even next year, Washington is going to turn its back on them.”
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) also opposed the bill: “…Another day, another opportunity to borrow $30 billion, much of it from the Chinese, and send the bill to our children and our grandchildren….The American people are asking, what part of `broke' doesn't Congress understand? They don't get it.”
The House passed the small business bill by a vote of 237-187. 236 Democrats and 1 Republican voted “yea.” 174 Republicans and 13 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House passed legislation (thus clearing it for the president’s signature) establishing 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, providing $1.5 billion to states to administer small business loan programs at the state level, and allowing small businesses to use government loans provided by the Small Business Administration to refinance existing debt.