ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
After passing a bill on the House floor this afternoon, and with her personal signature of approval, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi enrolled the Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010, sending the legislation down Pennsylvania Avenue for President Barack Obama’s signature next Monday.
Pelosi, D-California, praised the president for his leadership in helping to pass the measure, which approves $30 billion in small businesses loans and offers more than $12 billion in tax incentives to help small businesses grow and add jobs. Supporters of the bill hope that the $30 billion will leverage into $300 billion in lending to small businesses.
“I am very pleased to sign this legislation,” Pelosi said as she prepared to sign the bill at a brief ceremony at the Capitol. “When I do, we will send it to President Obama, with our appreciation for his extraordinary leadership to help small businesses grow. This is about opportunity, it’s about job creation, it’s about growth of our economy. I am honored to sign this legislation.”
House and Senate Republicans had denounced the lending fund as a “mini-TARP,” with lawmakers attempting to capitalize in the upcoming congressional midterm elections on public resentment over the unpopular $700 billion bailout financial system in 2008.
Today, the speaker said the bill will create 500,000 new jobs without adding to the deficit and recognized American small business entrepreneurs for fueling the path to economic recovery.
“I have often said to my colleagues that one of the most optimistic steps a person can take, except maybe getting married, is to start a small business. It is risk taking, it is entrepreneurial, it is in the spirit of our great country,” Pelosi said. “Small businesses as we know are the backbone of our economy. They have created two-thirds of all the new jobs created over the last 15 years. Today we are helping small businesses become what they have been all along, but even stronger: engines of our recovery.”
President Obama issued a statement this afternoon announcing that he intends to sign the bill next Monday, and he thanked Congress for finally passing the legislation.
“The small business jobs bill passed today will help provide loans and cut taxes for millions of small business owners without adding a dime to our nation’s deficit,” President Obama said in the statement. “After months of partisan obstruction and needless delay, I’m grateful that Democrats and a few Republicans came together to support this common-sense plan to put Americans back to work.”
The bill passed 237-187, with 13 Democrats voting against the measure. North Carolina congressman Walter Jones was the only House Republican who supported the legislation.
--John R. Parkinson
ABC News’ Dean Norland contributed to this report.