WASHINGTON - A bill working its way toward a vote in the Senate would create a $30 billion government fund to help community banks increase lending to small businesses.

Democrats say banks should be able to use the lending fund to leverage up to $300 billion in loans to small businesses, helping to loosen tight credit markets. The fund would be available to banks with less than $10 billion in assets.

Democrats and Republicans were negotiating a handful of amendments Wednesday with the goal of scheduling a vote on the bill later in the day. The talks played out as President Barack Obama traveled to Edison, N.J., where he was expected to tout the bill during a visit to a sandwich shop.

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