Retiring Ohio Senator George Voinovich has given a strong signal to the White House that he will play ball with them on the Small Business bill as well as the $50 billion infrastructure stimulus spending bill. It appears that he will want to add an amendment pulling the 1099 reporting requirement that was included in the Affordable Care Act as his only quid pro quo.
Voinovich's support for the measures really exposes the bankruptcy of the current Republican strategy, otherwise known as "No."
Via Washington Post:
In an interview, Voinovich said he could no longer support efforts by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to delay the measure in hopes of winning the right to offer additional GOP amendments. Most of the proposed amendments "didn't have anything to do with the bill" anyway, Voinovich said, and amounted merely to partisan "messaging."
"We don't have time for messaging. We don't have time anymore. This country is really hurting," Voinovich said.
Voinovich highlighted the difficulties small business owners face:
The package of tax breaks and other incentives includes a new loan fund that would encourage community banks to provide up to $30 billion to small businesses, improving access to credit - a problem hurting small businesses in Ohio, Voinovich said. He cited the case of a constituent whose business was turned down for a loan by 42 banks.
"We don't have time anymore to play games," Voinovich said. "I happen to believe these small-business people can't get money to save their souls."
Voinovich was also a no-show for the Affordable Care Act vote on the first round, an absence I viewed at the time as his way of not opposing the bill while not overtly challenging party leadership. Now that he's close to retirement, it seems he's willing to put the good of his constituents ahead of party loyalty. It's good to see, and gives political cover to the Maine twins and Scott Brown to follow suit.