The U.S. Senate has passed an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act that would make available an additional $1 billion in government loan guarantees through the Small Business Administration.

The funding "is essential to ensure that small firms with nowhere to go for money to maintain or expand their operations have access to capital," said U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who co-sponsored the amendment and chairs the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The funding "offers one of the surest ways we can help restart economic growth."

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., ranking member of the committee, who co-sponsored the amendment, said, "The bottom line to this amendment is the real impact it will have on jobs and the economy in America by helping to create and maintain over 36,000 jobs without any additional funding by taxpayers."