A fund that would make billions of federal dollars in credit available to help small businesses grow nationwide should get one step closer to reality today. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says a fellow Republican, Senator George Voinovich of Ohio, is joining Democrats to support the measure and break the G.O.P. filibuster.
“It’s a pretty good thing if we can move forward and all Republicans want is an opportunity to offer some amendments,” Grassley says. “We have not been holding up because of the substance of the issues so much as an opportunity just to offer amendments.” He says one of those blocked amendments would benefit biodiesel by reviving a tax credit on the renewable fuel which ended in December of 2009.
Grassley says that tax credit’s demise brought about the elimination of 23,000 jobs in the industry nationwide. He fears if tax credits on ethanol aren’t renewed, as many as 112,000 jobs in the ethanol industry may also be in jeopardy.
Under the current political climate in the Senate, Grassley says he can’t get the biodiesel issue — or anything else — added to the conversation. “We would like to have a situation where we have a debate on four Democrat amendments and four Republican amendments,” Grassley says.
“Maybe our amendments won’t even be adopted but we feel that we ought to at least be able to discuss them.” The bill to create a 30-billion dollar small business fund will likely pass the Senate later this week. Grassley says many elements of the bill are identical to pieces of legislation he’s introduced himself in recent months.
“For the most part, it hasn’t been held up on the substance of the bill, but upon the Democrats wanting to dictate the agenda and subvert the purpose of the Senate,” Grassley says. “It’s democracy at work, you know, to discuss issues.”
Republican Voinovich intends to join with 57 Democrats and two independents in supporting the bill, bringing the needed 60 votes to break the GOP filibuster.