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Obama Hails GOP Senators Who End Small-Business Bill ‘Blockade’

President Barack Obama on Wednesday cheered Senate progress in advancing a small-business jobs bill but chided Republicans for stalling a bill that “should not have taken this long to pass.”

Obama praised GOP Sens. George Voinovich (Ohio) and George LeMieux (Fla.) for voting with Democrats to clear a procedural hurdle in passing legislation that would cut taxes and boost lending for small businesses. The bill inched forward Tuesday by a vote of 61-37 after months of delays that Obama blamed on Republicans. A final vote is expected Thursday.

Voinovich and LeMieux “have refused to support this blockade any longer. And because of their decision, this small-business jobs bill will finally pass,” Obama said after emerging from a Cabinet meeting, which he called to discuss the economy.

“I want to thank them for their efforts, because they understand that we simply don’t have time anymore to play games,” he said.

The president also took aim at Senate Republicans for holding “tax cuts hostage” for the middle class by refusing to support an extension of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts without also extending them for the wealthy.

“If the other party continues to hold these [middle-class] tax cuts hostage, these are the same families who will suffer the most when their taxes go up next year,” Obama said. “And if we can’t get an agreement with Republicans, that’s what will happen.”

Both parties are divided on how to proceed on the issue; House Democratic leaders have signaled that they will not take it up until after the elections.

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