Sen. McCaskill backs loans for small businesses

      JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Sen. Claire McCaskill says money left over from the federal financial bailout should be used to provide loans to small businesses.

      The Democrat from Missouri held a video conference Wednesday with small businesses. She says many reported problems getting credit and uncertainty about how federal energy and health care proposals could affect their costs.

      President Barack Obama has proposed a new round of spending on highway and infrastructure projects. He also proposed more tax breaks for small businesses and additional incentives for people to make their homes more energy efficient.

      McCaskill says Congress should consider a direct federal loan program to small businesses. She says it could be funded with money remaining from last year's bank bailout legislation.