The Senate is now free to begin debate on the Small Business Reauthorization Act, or S. 493, which 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.
For the first time this year Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was forced to burn valuable time in filing a motion-to-proceed cloture on the bill after a group of conservative Republicans warned they would block any attempt to bring non-budgetary bills to the floor by unanimous consent. Once cloture is filed a bill must percolate for about 30 hours before a preliminary vote on whether or not the Senate can take up the legislation can occur.
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.
And several Republican voted on cloture for the bill, which requires 60 votes to pass, with one specifically citing that agreement.
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Monday morning he would vote to allow debate on the bill, which he opposes, because he wanted to use it as a vehicle for amendments on other more pressing matters.
Previous to the small business vote the Senate confirmed James Boasber, 96-0, to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia. The Senate is now in a period of morning business.