WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats controlling Congress are sending President Barack Obama a long-delayed bill to help struggling small businesses with easier credit and give them other incentives to expand and to hire new workers. It establishes a $30 billion government fund to help Main Street banks lend to small businesses and cut taxes on both big and small businesses.
The legislation passed by a 237-187 vote that split along party lines. Hawaii's First District Representative, Republican Charles Djou, voted against the bill. Democrat Mazie Hirono, representing Hawaii's Second Congressional District, voted in favor.
"Small business owners in Hawaii want to grow their companies but have voiced their frustration with me about their inability to get the needed financing. This bill will unlock credit and provide tax breaks to these small companies, which will in turn help them expand and hire locally" said Hirono.
"Instead of taking the simple step of offering small businesses the assurance that their taxes will not go up in a matter of months, this bill deepens our nation's debt and provides no long-term incentives to create jobs. In fact, this bill permanently raises taxes by nearly $14.5 billion dollars. We cannot tax our way out of recession" said Djou.
He said that while he agreed with the expressed goals of the bill, he voted against it because it will increase burdensome paperwork and would impede economic recovery. Djou said that tax relief in the bill would be offset by tax increases, amounting to net $2.5 billion tax increase over the next ten years.
Hirono said the bill is paid for and would not add to the national deficit. She added that the legislation would take steps toward ending tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas.
The bill is aimed at easing a small-business credit crunch that worsened dramatically after the financial crisis two years ago. It's a modest victory for Democrats, whose jobs agenda has otherwise mostly been stalled by Senate Republicans opposed to new spending programs.
The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.