Reid files cloture on small business bill

Sixty senators will have to support Reid for the Senate to take up the legislation. Reid said that vote would take place on Monday.

Reid said he was disappointed the unanimous consent request failed.

“I'm disappointed that I had to file cloture on a bill as important as this one,” he said. “We were going to have a new day here in the Senate.”

In the last Congress, Republicans objected to almost every piece of legislation Democrats attempted to bring to the floor, but under a new agreement forged earlier this year that was supposed to change.

Republicans would allow bills to come to the floor in exchange for the opportunity to freely offer amendments.

“I just think that it’s really too bad,” continued Reid. “This is the small business innovation bill. I know everyone knows we have had an open amendment process here. People can offer amendments on anything they want.”

The senators blocking the small business bill say they will prevent any measures not related to reducing the deficit from reaching the floor. They wrote Reid on Thursday to tell him of their demands.  

“While there are certainly many issues that warrant the Senate’s consideration, we feel that the Senate must not debate and consider bills at this time that do not affirmatively cut spending, directly address structural budget reforms, reduce government’s role in the economy so businesses can create jobs, or directly address this current financial crisis,” the letter said.

It was signed by Sens. David Vitter (R-La.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and John Ensign (R-Nev.)

“After ignoring jobs for months, Republicans are making it official by vowing to block every bill that creates American jobs,” a Reid spokesman said in response.

The Small Business Reauthorization Act would provide funding for the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer program (STTR), which Democrats say will create jobs. 

“I hope the Republicans in the House understand what we are doing over here,” said Reid. “We are creating jobs.”

The Senate adjourned at about 5:30 p.m. on Thursday and is not slated to return until 2 p.m. on Monday. Votes on an additional judicial nominee and on the motion to proceed on the small business bill are expected at begin at about 5:30 p.m.