Washington (AP) — The Senate passed long-delayed legislation Thursday designed to open up credit to small businesses and award them with other incentives to expand and hire new workers.
Democrats won a 61-38 vote to pass the legislation, joined by two Republicans. The measure would establish a $30 billion government account to help open up lending for credit-starved small businesses, cut their taxes and boost Small Business Administration loan programs.
The tally gives President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress a political victory with less than seven weeks to go before the November election.
The new loan account would be available to community banks to encourage lending to small businesses. Supporters say banks should be able to use the account to leverage up to $300 billion in loans.
The legislation would also aid lending by lowering Small Business Administration loan program fees and raising loan guarantee and lending limits.
The measure had been delayed for months and was successfully filibustered by Republicans in July. But on Tuesday, Democrats cracked the filibuster. That set the stage for Thursday’s vote.
Having received Senate passage, the bill returns to the House, which is likely to approve it for Obama’s signature.