Small Business Aid Falls Short, a Filibuster Ensues
Capitol Hill The 29th of July spelled trouble for legislation that will extend aid to small businesses throughout the nation. Senate Republicans rejected a bill to aid small businesses with an expanded loan program and tax breaks. The bill centers on a $30 billion dollar lending program, advocated by the Treasury Department, and administrated through local banks. It provides incentives for lending, and does not, in actuality, speak to a bailout for small business; however, the cost of the bill is still a central issue. The bill also provides more than $12 billion dollars in tax breaks, and would expand existing lending programs.

While Republicans are weary of the bailout-like affect of the bill, some have pledged support; the bill had the backing of the Republican Party's most reliable business allies, which include the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business. Several other Republican lawmakers aided support in the writing of the bill.

The day however was gloomier than expected, with Republican leaders filibustered after debating with Democrats over proposed amendments to the bill; Democrats however turned to a few final efforts to pass parts of the bill. Nevertheless, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky irrevocably shot down the last attempts.



Votes Fall Short

Sixty votes were needed to advance the legislation, however, the vote fell two votes short of that, at 58 to 42. Democrats unilaterally agreed, while Republicans ubiquitously disagreed; setting the stage for a battle between parties.

Uneasiness Remains, Debate Continues

Following the vote, outcries were heard from both sides; the overall mood on the Senate floor was uneasy at best. Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, the senior Republican on the small-business committee asserted, "That is the tradition in the United States Senate: majority rules, but you accommodate the rights of the minority." Feeling stifled by Democratic majority, her comments revealed the fact that Republicans felt slighted and unheard in the matter, which is a possible outcome of partisan politics.

Snowe felt that Democratic waffling had damaged the bills' passage by stating, "We need to create jobs in America," and "This bill has been on the floor for three weeks and three substitutes - 81 days."

Mary L. Landrieu, a champion of the bill and Democrat of Louisiana, responded to the backlash by criticizing Mr. McConnell for his blocking efforts, "Our businesses have picked up enough weight; they can't handle that weight," "And if we don't give them some help now, today, many of them aren't going to be here."

The Future

The future of the legislation is sketchy at best, considering fall recess is coming up shortly, from August 9th to September 12th the Senate and House will have recess, and they will reconvene on September 13th. When that happens, the legislation will go back to the Senate, where it is asserted that Republicans will have to be heard and recognized; amendments will have to be made, or a few Republican voters will have to sway their opinion for any change to happen. Overall, the outcome is undecided at this moment.

From the Horse's Mouth

However, one thing is certain. Small business owners feel that government does not recognize their needs. Recently, Vistage International Inc., a firm who is centered on CEO peer group studies and leadership coaching, surveyed the owners of small businesses. It was reported that 87% of surveyed small business owners felt that the government did not understand the predicaments of small business.

Read more: This story reported on the New York Times

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