Is relief to small business owners coming, or will political maneuvering get in the way? Voting on H.R. 5297, the Small Business Jobs Act, has been held up as the Senate voted 58-42 to reject a motion to bring the bill to a vote. The Act would (among other things) give small businesses limited-time tax incentives (such as a limited capital gains exclusion for stock and allow general business credit to be carried back five years), increase the Small Business Administration loan limits, and provide $1.5 billion in grants to states to support small business lending initiatives (click here to see the International Franchise Association's full summary of the Act).
Ostensibly, assistance to small business owners should be a political no-brainer. I mean, we're already spending money we don't have on a host of programs and earmarks. With small businesses accounting for the vast majority of our nation's economic activity, why not divert some of it to help those businesses become established and expand? After all, historically small businesses have been at the forefront of any true economic recovery, and this time should be no exception (a fact that President Obama acknowledged in a speech he made yesterday).
So what's the hold up on H.R. 5297? Politics, if the pundits are to be believed. Today's motion for cloture (to end the current filibuster on the bill) was rejected by all 41 Senate Republicans (and Harry Reid — thanks again, Harry). Given that the Act is supported by President Obama, could the reason for the apparent opposition by the Senate Republicans be that they want to avoid giving the Democrats a perceived "victory" with mid-term elections only months away? I sincerely hope not.