Wall Street Journal, By: Christopher Cooper and Elizabeth Holmes
Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain issued new economic proposals on Friday, underscoring how both presidential candidates are rewriting their playbooks to keep up with the worsening economic crisis...
Sen. Obama's lending plan for small businesses was cobbled from similar legislation pending in the Senate. In late September, Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, introduced a bill that would treat the financial crisis like a federal disaster, thereby allowing the Small Business Administration to guarantee private low-interest loans to small businesses.
Like Sen. Kerry's bill, Sen. Obama's proposal would temporarily waive closing fees associated with these loans. The Kerry bill seeks $715 million in appropriations, which Sen. Kerry said would generate $25 billion in loan guarantees. Sen. Kerry's bill was shelved while Congress worked on passing the $700 billion rescue plan last week.
It's unclear how much the measure would help. When a similar program was enacted nationally after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, it pumped about $2 billion into local economies, Sen. Kerry's office said.
On Friday, Sen. Kerry expressed support for Sen. Obama's proposal. "It's clear Barack understands the challenges faced by Main Street," he said in an email.
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