Jul 29, 2010

Republicans Block Bill to Aid Small Business

- GOP: Target America -


WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans on Thursday rejected a bill to aid small businesses with expanded loan programs and tax breaks, in a procedural blockade that underscored how fiercely determined the party’s leaders are to deny Democrats any further legislative accomplishments ahead of November’s midterm elections.

The measure, championed by Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, had the backing of some of the Republican Party’s most reliable business allies, including the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business. Several Republican lawmakers also helped write it.

But Republican leaders filibustered after fighting for days with Democrats over the number of amendments they would be able to offer. A last-ditch offer by Democrats to allow three was refused by the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

“The majority leader has graciously given us three amendments and what I’m saying is three amendments is not enough; he knows that,” Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor. “We are not expecting to have an unlimited number of amendments, but three amendments will not suffice.”

The demise, at least for now, of the measure signaled that Democrats would fare no better on other legislation that they had hoped to finish before summer recess begins at the end of next week, including a scaled-back energy bill. The Senate is expected to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, but that may be its only substantive action.

With 60 votes needed to advance the legislation, the tally was 58 to 42, with Democrats unanimously in favor and Republicans all opposed. The majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, switched his vote to no at the last minute, a parliamentary step that allows him to call for a re-vote.

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