9/11 first responders, the Republicans have filibustered a bill, sponsored by Democratic Senator Mary I. Landrieu of Louisiana (left), that would have aided small business–despite their traditional pose as the party of small business. The Republicans are again trying to deny the Democrats any victories before the November elections and are objecting to the bill on procedural grounds:
Senate Republicans on Thursday rejected a bill to aid small businesses with expanded loan programs and tax breaks, in a procedural blockade that underscored how fiercely determined the party’s leaders are to deny Democrats any further legislative accomplishments ahead of November’s midterm elections.
...Republican leaders filibustered after fighting for days with Democrats over the number of amendments they would be able to offer. A last-ditch offer by Democrats to allow three was refused by the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
...Ms. Landrieu harshly criticized Mr. McConnell for blocking the measure, and warned that some businesses might fail.
“Our businesses have picked up enough weight; they can’t handle that weight,” she said in a floor speech. “And if we don’t give them some help now, today, many of them aren’t going to be here — I want the senator from Kentucky to know — when we show up in September.”
The bill would create a $30 billion lending program within the Treasury Department, to be administered through local banks. It would also provide more than $12 billion in tax breaks, and would expand or enhance existing lending programs.
Among the amendments the Republicans wanted to add were those that would predominantly benefit the wealthiest, including repealing the estate tax and extending the Bush tax cuts.