Senate to slog through 125 amendments on small-business bill

Lawmakers are trying to combine and eliminate many of the amendments considered to be non-controversial, sources with the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship said on Monday. This could help speed up the process.

The legislation itself is relatively non-controversial, but senators from both parties have taken advantage of an agreement struck by Senate leaders in January that allows unlimited amendments to most bills that come to the floor.

One major hurdle to the SBA funding bill was cleared last week when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) allowed a series of votes on controversial amendments that would have stripped the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of much of its power to regulate greenhouse gasses. All of the amendments failed.

The following amendments are currently pending on the bill:

• An amendment offered by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) ordering the federal government to sell off unused and underused property.

• An amendment from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to form a bipartisan commission to improve oversight of government spending.

• Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has an amendment to establish a point of order against any efforts to reduce benefits paid to Social Security recipients, raise the retirement age or create private retirement accounts.

• An amendment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to slash $200 billion in spending for fiscal year 2011.

• An amendment offered by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) to delay the implementation of the healthcare reform law until a final resolution is reached in pending lawsuits.

• Sen. Mark Pryor’s (D-Ark.) amendment to establish a program that would allow the SBA to make loans to members of the military wanting to start or expand a small business. 

• Sen. Ben Cardin’s (D-Md.) amendment to reinstate the increase in the surety bond guarantee limits for the SBA.

• Sen. Olympia Snowe’s (R-Maine) amendment to prevent fraud in small-business contracting.

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