Sen. LeMieux to back Democrats on small-business bill amendment

Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) on Thursday said he’s on board with the Democratic-written small-business incentives bill.

In comments to reporters and in a subsequent floor speech, LeMieux said he will support an amendment to establish a small-business lending fund, a $30 billion lending pool for banks to lend to businesses struggling with foreclosure.

LeMieux was approached earlier this week by Democratic leaders about the lending fund provision in the bill. He told The Hill that he was considering supporting it since he’s been approached by several business groups in Florida and that the state’s small-business community was struggling.

On Thursday, LeMieux said he supported the provision as well as the entire bill.


“I know a lot of my colleagues on my side of the aisle oppose this. I hope they come around,” LeMieux said. “This is a bill that we all should agree upon.”

With centrist Sen. Ben Nelson's (D-Neb.) vote secured, LeMieux is expected to serve as the 60th vote for the measure. 

LeMieux and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) collaborated on the lending fund provision, and LeMieux worked with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on another provision he promoted on the floor Thursday to combat Medicare fraud.

It is unclear if LeMieux would make the necessary 60th vote, but his support is key since Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) is now considered a non-supporter. Assuming all 59 Democrats support the bill, Democratic leaders would need one Republican vote to reach the critical 60 votes.