The U.S. Senate on Sept. 16 passed a bill providing billions of dollars in aid and tax benefits to small businesses, handing a victory to President Barack Obama in his bid to rekindle economic growth.
The bill, which had been held up for weeks by Republicans using procedural tactics, passed by a vote of 61 to 38.
Two Republican senators, George Voinovich and George LeMieux, joined the Democratic majority in voting for the bill, which most Republicans argued was yet another government-sponsored bailout.
The measure would provide $30 billion in loans for small businesses and another $12 billion in tax breaks including investment credits.
The president and Democrats argued that the measure could help spur up to 500,000 jobs.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the bill would help the economy by offering "tax relief and greater access to capital" for small businesses.
"This timely support for small businesses, which is fully paid-for and won't add one dime to the deficit, should create hundreds of thousands of jobs," he said.
The House of Representatives, which adopted a similar measure in June, is expected to pass the Senate version of the bill to send to the president.
Obama this week welcomed the end of the stalemate on the bill, although he took a dig at Republicans, accusing them of staging a "months-long partisan blockade."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010