After a long struggle, partly caused by pre-midterm-election power jostling in Congress, the Senate passed a bill designed to give small businesses a leg up in a 61-38 vote on Thursday. The House is also expected to approve the bill, which some GOP types tried to thwart by invoking comparisons to the dreaded TARP of 2009. –KA

Los Angeles Times:

Yet the months-long impasse over the bill to aid small businesses, which have been hard hit during the economic downturn and are championed by both parties as engines of the recovery, highlights the partisan divisions before the fall midterm election.

“It tells you the depth of the gridlock and dysfunction that unfortunately has gripped the Congress,” said Sen. Evan Bayh (D- Ind.). “Hopefully, some of that will abate after the election.”

The bill enjoyed bipartisan support at the outset, but the addition of the $30-billion small-business lending fund to give credit-starved firms access to capital created insurmountable partisan divisions. Republicans quickly opposed the lending fund as a “mini-TARP”, reminding voters of the unpopular Troubled Assets Relief Program that was the cornerstone of the 2008 federal bank bailout.

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