Business Owners Have All Eyes on Senate

Hire a new employee? Stock up on inventory? Expand the store?

These are just some decisions some small company owners say they are afraid to make -- until they find out what happens to a small business bill that is now stuck in the Senate. The bill would establish a new $30 billion small business lending program for community banks and provide small companies billions in new tax breaks. President Obama is pushing the measure.

"It would help them get the credit they need and eliminate capital gains taxes on key investments so they have more incentive to invest right now," the president said about the bill.Republicans generally support the bill, but they want amendments added that would extend expired tax breaks for corporate research and development, among other proposals. Senate leaders in both parties reportedly expect the bill to pass when Congress goes back into session later this month.

Meanwhile, uncertainty in public policy is not helping to boost economic confidence for owners of small companies.

The Discover "Small Business Watch" survey for August found 62 percent of owners rate the economy as poor, 28 percent rate it as fair -- and only 9% rate it as good.Nor is hope rising.

Today, 55 percent think their economic situation will get worse in the next six months. And 75 percent of the business owners said they were not going to hire anyone soon.