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Ohio Sen. Voinovich bucks the GOP
Says he will vote for small-business stimulus
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
Ohio's GOP Sen. George Voinovich says he can no longer side with Republicans in blocking passage of a small-business bill.
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U.S. senators are heading back to Washington today (Monday). And majority Democrats are now armed with a crucial vote for a bill that boosts incentives for small businesses -- Ohio's Republican Senator George Voinovich.
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Sen. Sherrod Brown has long backed a small-business stimulus bill, and now has company in GOP Sen. George Voinovich.
George Voinovich got a shout out Friday from a place Republicans rarely hear kind words from these days – The White House. During his press conference Friday, President Obama applauded the retiring Ohio senator’s decision to vote for legislation that  includes $12 billion  in tax incentives for small businesses and a $30 billion investment in independent community banks to encourage lending to small businesses.
Voinovich told the Washington Post that time is running out and the "country is really hurting," and that he’ll no longer support Republican delays in voting on the measure. That would make Voinovich the crucial 60th vote for the package – enough to break the threat of a Republican filibuster.
Voinovich did not return calls about his change of heart.
The package has long had the support Ohio’s other senator, Sherrod Brown, and he thinks his colleague has heard from small business constituents who see the bill as crucial.
Brown notes that the bill has the backing of traditionally Republican groups, including the chamber of commerce.
He hopes for a vote on cloture – cutting off debate – as early as tonight and that the bill will get to the president to sign by the end of the week.
 
Here's a transcript of the section of the President's press conference Friday discussing the small-business program:
This is a bill that does two main things:  It gives small business owners tax cuts, and it helps them get loans.  It will eliminate capital gains taxes for key investments in 1 million small businesses.  It will provide incentives to invest and create jobs for 4 million small businesses.  It will more than double the amount some small business owners can borrow to grow their companies.  It’s a bill that's paid for, a bill that won’t add to the deficit.  It has been written by Democrats and Republicans.  It’s a bill that's been praised by the Chamber of Commerce.  And yet a minority of Republican senators have been using legislative tactics to prevent the bill from even getting to a vote. 
 
Now, I was pleased to see that yesterday, Republican Senator George Voinovich of Ohio said he would refuse to support this blockade any longer.  Senator Voinovich said, “This country is really hurting,” and “We don’t have time anymore to play games.” I could not agree more. 
 
I understand there’s an election coming up.  But the American people didn’t send us here to think about our jobs.  They sent us here to think about theirs.  And there are small businesses right now who are putting off plans to hire more workers because this bill is stalled.  That’s not the kind of leadership this country deserves.  And I hope we can now move forward to get small business owners the relief they need to start hiring and growing again. 
 

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