Small-business bill passes -- but what's there to say about it?
It's common to hear complaints -- some of them coming from me -- that the media's coverage of legislation is heavy on process stories, outrageous statements and other signposts of political conflict, and light on the underlying substance of the bills. But when you cover something like the small-business lending bill, it's hard not to be sympathetic.
To begin with, this isn't a very exciting piece of legislation. It's a $30 billion lending fund and $12 billion in tax breaks for small businesses. That's a useful additional to our current arsenal of stimulus measures, but it's not a game changer. It's not even something the spectators or the players themselves will necessarily notice. And more to the point, though the bill has languished in the Senate for months and months, most of those underlying facts have remained static. How many times can you say $30 billion lending fund and $12 billion in tax breaks? The only thing changing -- and changing slowly at that -- is the number of Republicans willing to uphold a filibuster.
Meanwhile, here's the president's statement on the legislation. I'll note that he also focuses on procedural criticisms and political conflict.
September 17, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
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