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Senate Dems Break Small-Business-Jobs-Bill Filibuster

September 14, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Since June 29th, Senate Democrats have been stymied by Republicans on a bill (H.R. 5297) that would give small business $12 billion in tax breaks and a $30 billion lending fund in order to encourage new hiring. Today, a couple Republicans gave in, providing the Democrats the votes they need to overcome GOP opposition and move the bill towards final passage.

Sen. George Voinovich [R, OH] and Sen. George LeMieux [R, FL] voted with every Democrat in favor of a “cloture” motion this afternoon, making moot the rest of the Republicans’ threat to filibuster. As a reminder, here’s how the $30 billion lending fund in the bill would work, via Businessweek:

The fund would invest in small banks—those with less than $10 billion in assets—by purchasing preferred stock, which would pay the government a dividend of 5 percent. The cost of that money would decrease to a dividend as small as 1 percent if banks boost their small business loans over 2009 levels by 10 percent. For banks that do not increase their small business lending, the capital would become more expensive, with the dividend rising to 7 percent.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the fund will result in a $2 billion surplus for the government over the next 2 years due to the interest banks would be paying on the loans. And, for what it’s worth, Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] estimates it will produce 500,000 – 700,000 jobs. I have yet to find an independent analysis of how many jobs we can expect to see from this, but I’ll update when/if I do.

Reid says the Senate will take a final vote on passage of the bill later this week, likely on Thursday. After that it will go either back to the House for a vote on agreeing to the Senate’s amendment, or to a conference committee for reconciliation.

Senator Voinovich is pictured above.

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