Democrats in Congress look likely to get a modest pre-election victory by passing $12 billion in tax cuts for businesses and injecting $30 billion into small banks.
The measure Democrats dub a “small business lending bill” cleared the 60-vote hurdle Tuesday in the Senate with help from two Republicans. Sen. Patty Murray‘s office says it could get a final vote today or Thursday, sending it to the House, where AP reports it is likely to pass.
The money for small banks, which comes with strings intended to promote lending to small businesses, is the controversial part of the bill, with Republicans calling it another bank bailout. Murray challenger Dino Rossi echoed those criticisms in a statement Tuesday, saying it’s only needed because small businesses are being hurt by the financial reform bill:
This is Washington, D.C., problem solving at its worst – pass one bad bill which punishes Main Street businesses for the bad actions of Wall Street, then push through another bad bill to undo some of the consequences of the first. If Congress had taken the time to get financial reform right the first time around, they wouldn’t need to push through another bank bailout.
Murray spoke on the Senate floor today to praise the bill and talk about her meetings with business owners in Tacoma and elsewhere:
Small businesses like the ones I visited in Washington state can be the engine that drives our economic recovery. But that engine needs fuel in the form of credit to run—and that fuel simply isn’t flowing right now. … Too many of my Republican colleagues are afraid that a victory for small businesses is a victory for the Democratic Party — and they simply don’t want to allow that to happen this close to an election.