Senate passes bill to aid small businesses

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The Senate on Thursday approved a multi-billion dollar package of tax breaks and government-backed loans for small businesses, as Democrats surmounted months of opposition by Republican leaders. Backers say the bill could spur business growth and new hiring.

The vote on the small-business measure was 61 to 38, with just two Republicans, George V. Voinovich of Ohio and George LeMieux of Florida, joining Democrats in voting in favor. The legislation now goes to the House, where leaders hope to quickly win approval and send it to President Obama, who is eager to sign it.

In addition to providing tax breaks and enhancing a number of existing aid programs run by the Small Business Administration, the legislation would create a $30 billion lending program administered by the Treasury to channel government-back loans through community banks.

Giving small businesses a boost

Full story: Senate Passes Bill to Aid Small Businesses – NYTimes.com