Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press
Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), one of two Republican senators who crossed party lines to break a GOP filibuster that had blocked a bill to provide small-business loans.
For weeks, President Barack Obama has sought to put Senate Republicans on the defensive while improving the standing of Democrats by lambasting the minority party for blocking a bill that would provide small businesses with loans.
But two Senate Republicans crossed over Tuesday, ending a Republican filibuster and essentially defusing that Democratic political grenade.
The legislation would create a $30 billion fund to provide loans to small businesses.
Most Republicans opposed the bill because of concerns it would add to the deficit.
But as the Associated Press reported:
Democrats cracked a GOP filibuster of the bill with the help of two Republicans: Sens. George Voinovich of Ohio and George LeMieux of Florida.
The 61-37 tally sets the stage for a final vote later this week to return the measure to the House, which is likely to approve it for Obama's signature.
Those two Republicans, not incidentally, are retiring from the Senate which arguably gives them more freedom to break with their party.
In a statement issued by the White House pres office, the president acknowledged the help of the two Republicans.
“Today’s vote brings us one step closer to ending the months-long partisan blockade of a small business jobs bill that was written by both Democrats and Republicans. This is a bill that would cut taxes and help provide loans to millions of small business owners who create most of the new jobs in this country. It is fully paid for, it won’t add to the deficit, and small businesses across the country have been waiting for Washington to act on this bill for far too long. I am grateful to Senators Reid, Baucus and Landrieu for their leadership on this issue as well as the two Republican Senators who put partisanship aside and joined Democrats in overcoming this filibuster. I urge all members of the Senate to support final passage as soon as possible."