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Memo Boosts Vulnerable House Democrats’ Small-Business Credentials

Freshman and sophomore House Democrats looking to trumpet their efforts to bolster small businesses are getting an assist from a new memo highlighting their accomplishments.

Party leaders have encouraged their rank and file to focus on small businesses while campaigning in their districts this week, and the office of Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) began circulating the 12-page report Thursday afternoon. It highlights the efforts of some of the most vulnerable Democratic lawmakers and includes dozens of examples of small-business-related measures and amendments that freshmen and sophomores have sponsored.

Democratic Members have held more than 200 events related to employment and small businesses in their districts this month, and the memo features some of them, including freshman Rep. Debbie Halvorson’s “job hunters’ boot camps” for unemployed constituents and freshman Rep. Scott Murphy’s recent meeting with the owner of the Cooperstown Brewery, which Murphy worked to help keep from closing. Both Halvorson (Ill.) and Murphy (N.Y.) are members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program for incumbent retention.

Looking to counter Republican charges that Democratic spending policies have dramatically worsened the economic situation, Democratic leaders have strategically offered their most vulnerable members the opportunity to serve as chief co-sponsors of politically advantageous bills, including many of the piecemeal small-business measures that the House passed this year.

The report is the latest in a barrage of Democratic efforts to make headway with voters this week by focusing on small businesses. Van Hollen, who is assistant to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the chairman of the DCCC, held a conference call Tuesday with Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and Small Business Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) touting Democrats’ efforts to pass legislation that helps small businesses. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is on a three-day fundraising tour for a quartet of Democrats in Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi and North Carolina, and he plans to hammer on jobs and the economy.

Democrats plan to launch another attack on Republicans on Friday for opposing a small-business lending bill that has stalled in the Senate amid GOP opposition, a Democratic leadership aide said.

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