Kevin Costner Talks Gulf Clean-Up at Capitol

Congress moved forward on legislation this week to help small businesses grow and borrow.

The House approved measures to 1) exempt certain investments in small companies from capital gains taxes, 2) ease onerous tax penalties on companies, and 3) increase tax deductions for start-up costs. It also approved President Obama's proposal to create a $30 billion small-business-lending fund.

The Small Business Lending Fund Act would create financial incentives for banks to make loans right away to small businesses. The measures now go the Senate for consideration.

Costner Talks Gulf Clean-Up at Capitol

While BP's Chief Executive Tony Hayward was being grilled by the U.S. House over the Gulf-oil spill, the Senate Small Business Committee was looking into the company's and the government's use of innovative products made by small companies to help the clean-up effort. Actor Kevin Costner, a partner in a small business that makes oil-clean-up technology, talked about the difficulty of getting these types of products made by the mom-and-pop shops into the right hands.

“But you should know that negotiating your way as a small business through the bureaucratic maze that presently exists is like playing a video game that no one can master,” Costner said.

The committee announced plans to push for streamlining the current application process so that more small businesses can win clean-up contracts.