“We hope we can pass it this week if we can negotiate wisely and smartly on the on these amendments pending,” said Landrieu. “We already have 89 amendments that have been filed on this bill and we are hoping that some of them will be withdrawn that are not germane to this bill.”

Landrieu added that she is “not encouraging additional amendments,” and in a separate speech a few minutes later pleaded with members to withdraw some of their amendments.

“We'd like to keep this bill very focused on small business,” said Landrieu.

Debate on the small-business bill began at around 3:20 p.m. but so far only Landrieu and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who are managing the floor debate, have spoken.

Snowe also said she hoped the Senate would move the bill “quickly and expeditiously” and that it would receive broad support. 

The Small Business Reauthorization Act, titled S. 493, would provide funding for the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer program (STTR), which Democrats say are critical to sustaining job creation.