Bill to Aid Small Business Passes U.S. House

A $30 billion fund would be available to banks for loans to small and medium size businesses.

The House of Representatives passed a bill on June 17 to make credit available to small business, a measure pushed by President Barack Obama to stimulate hiring at a time of high unemployment.

The measure passed by a vote of 241 to 182. The Senate has yet to vote on the bill.

The bill would funnel credit to small and medium size businesses through local banks. A $30 billion fund managed by the Treasury Department would be used to make funds available to banks for such loans.

The House coupled the provision with a previously passed measure that provides $3.5 billion in tax breaks.

Obama hailed the House vote in a statement that urged the Senate to follow suit.

"Our nation's small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and the main drivers of private job creation," he said, calling the measure "a new and significant step toward getting small businesses the financing they need to start up, expand, and hire more workers."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also expressed satisfaction with the vote during her weekly news conference, saying small businesses "needed credits for a long time which the banks are not providing."

Republicans oppose the lending fund as another bailout of financial institutions at the taxpayers' expense.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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