Kent Hoover reports at Portfolio.com that as President Obama he signed a hard-fought small-business lending measure into law, he said it is the “most significant step” to help small firms in more than a decade.

President Barack Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act into law, calling it “the most significant step on behalf of our small businesses in more than a decade.”

The legislation also is likely the last legislative victory the president will see for a while. Congress is limping home at the end of this week, putting off any more big decisions until after the November 2 congressional elections—contests that could shift control of at least one side of Capitol Hill to Republicans.

In order to grow the economy, Obama said it “was critical that we cut taxes and make more loans available to entrepreneurs.” Today, he said, ”after a long and tough fight, I am signing a small-business jobs bill that does just that.”

The law takes several steps intended to make credit easier to obtain:

•It provides $30 billion in cheap capital to community banks for use in making small-business loans. This idea was first proposed by the president nearly a year ago, during a visit to a warehouse in suburban Maryland.
•It temporarily raises the government guarantee on the Small Business Administration’s flagship loans to 90 percent and waives fees on 7(a) and 504 loans. These breaks are expected to produce a boom in SBA lending in the fourth quarter by making these loans less risky for lenders and more affordable for borrowers.
•It increases the size limits on SBA loans—small businesses now will be able to get a $5 million 7(a) loan, for example, compared with the previous limit of $2 million.
•Small businesses with unfavorable terms on their commercial real estate loans now will be able to refinance these loans through the SBA’s 504 program.
•Small businesses also will benefit from the bill’s $12 billion in targeted tax cuts.

Read more: Portfolio.com