GOP Wavers Over Small Business Lending Program

GOP Wavers Over Small Business Lending ProgramLegislation promoting small business growth in America was debated in the Senate yesterday, with a few key issues halting progression. The lending legislation, part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, provides growth incentives to small businesses through lending funds, grants and tax deductions.

Democrats are championing the legislation as something that is entirely needed for the future of small business in America, citing that by building the foundation of small business lends itself to the overall economic recovery; small businesses account for a large percentage of private sector employment, near 80%. However, some politicians are upset at the costs associated with the bill, and the so-called "bailout" affect.

Senate republicans vowed to block the bill at the meeting. This decision comes after the long-awaited wait by democrats to push this legislation through congress. Just recently, Senate Democrats have made a substantial victory, by winning an extension of unemployment insurance. Benefits will be extended for the unemployed, and will be retroactive post June 1.

The $34 billion dollar unemployment measure will now go to the House, where it may be approved as early as Thursday. The extension of unemployment benefits will help millions of unemployed workers who have been out of work for six months or more. The benefits will be extended through November.

With the upcoming August recess, time is dwindling to have the small business bill passed. However, the legislation is polarizing to the voting populous, with a distinct air of opposition from Senate Republicans. Democrats are eager to get the legislation passed; so that it can be included for the agenda in November have made recent changes to the bill so that it would be attractive to the growing tide of descent.

However, changes in the legislation were halted, as the majority leader Senator Harry Reid continued to block Republican amendments. Overall, talks will continue with both sides, but it is "up in the air," if the legislation will be approved, until either a Senate majority is reached, or amendments for Republicans are made.

President Obama commented on the ongoing partisan efforts, "We all have to continue our efforts to do everything in our power to spur growth and hiring." He hopes that the Senate will act on the legislation regarding tax cuts and lending incentives for small businesses. Overall, he is strongly motivated to get the legislation passed.

Further partisan blockages came from Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Senate Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, and chair of the small business committee commented that Senator McConnell seemed motivated in denying the legislation. She added further, "If Democrats don't stand for small business; I don't know what we stand for."

However, support does come from the Republican side, possibly from Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, who is a senior Republican on the small business committee. However, the main issue is the $30 billion dollar lending program, which would make credit available to small businesses through local bank incentives. This piece of legislative agenda is seen as just another "bailout" and is strongly opposed by Senate Republicans.

Republicans are standing firm in opposition of the $30 billion dollar lending program. They state that they will not support the bill until that piece of legislation is removed. However, in an urging note from the Independent Community Bankers of America, with the support of 29 state community banking associations, the letter urged support to Mr. Reid and Mr. McConnell for approval of the lending program

Overall, both sides are pointing figures to possible blame about this legislation not being approved. Mr. McConnell blames the Democrats for repeatedly pulling it off the floor, and denying Republicans a chance to amend it. Democrats remain harsh in their criticism of Republicans who are blocking the vote.

Read more: This issue on The New York Times.