A bill that would have cut taxes and eased credit for small businesses was blocked in the Senate by Republicans Thursday, who tried linking its passage to a series of amendments that would have extended expiring tax breaks for the nations highest earners.
The Senate voted 58-42 to end debate on the bill, falling just short of the required 60 votes to consider legislation for passage.
For nearly a month, lawmakers have been wrangling over the bills content, but have seen little progress. With little room for negotiation and energy legislation next on tap, its not clear if the Senate will revisit the subject of small business aid.
The measure would have eased terms for loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration, along with $12 billion in tax breaks and a series of grants to states to provide business loans.
Additionally, $30 billion would have been provided to banks with less than $10 billion in assets to stimulate lending to small businesses and was estimated to spur $300 billion in lending.
Such a bill would be comparable to another unpopular bailout, said Republicans. Sen. Richard Shelby (R- Ala.) suggested the program would induce banks to make risky loans.
Once again, a common-sense bill that would help Americans is being held hostage by political calculation, said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).