By Jay Heflin - 06/16/10 04:50 PM EDT
The House passed the tax portion of the bill last night with five Republicans supporting the measure. The chamber is slated to vote later Wednesday on the portion of the bill providing loan opportunities to small businesses.
The section creates a $30 billion fund for small and medium-sized community banks that is expected to be loaned to small businesses. Hoyer said the fund will be fully repaid, plus interest that could net taxpayers $1 billion.
"This will not cost the taxpayers a penny," Hoyer said.
Republicans have questioned providing loan opportunities to businesses when demand for their goods and services remains low. But small business owners appearing Wednesday with Democratic leaders said they have seen an increase in demand during the past six months.
"We are seeing an uptick, yes," said Jennifer Collins, president and owner of The Event Planning Group.
Helen Han, president and CEO of the National Association of Women Business Owners, said surveys by her group show optimism about consumer demand, which she said will be improved if Congress approves the small business bill.
"If the government and congressional leaders and the administration actually support small businesses, we will be able to move this economy forward," she said.