Lawmakers said Wednesday they are hopeful that they can pass a provision to create a $30 billion small-business lending fund.
At a news conference, Senate Small Business Committee Chair Mary Landrieu acknowledged that the fund would be removed from a bill that included a host of measures to assist small businesses.
Still, she said that Democrats would offer the fund as a separate amendment to the overall bill, and said they had the 60 votes necessary to ensure it would be reattached.
She also rejected Republican arguments that the fund was similar to the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
"Some of the criticism has been this might be like the Tarp program," said Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat. "The Tarp program was a Bush program designed to bail out weak banks. This program is not a bank program. It is a small-business lending program for healthy, not troubled … community bank partners."
Democrats also cleared another hurdle Wednesday by deciding that a controversial amendment from Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., to increase the lending limits for credit unions, would not be offered.
The bill, which could come up for a vote in the Senate by the end of this week, would establish a $30 billion fund to provide capital to community banks to spur small-business lending.