GOP using Senate amendment process to attack Obama agenda, promote federal savings

H.R. 1 was roundly rejected by the Senate last month 44-56. 

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), for example, has proposed amendments to the small-business bill that would defund the National Endowment for the Arts, Planned Parenthood and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in fiscal 2011 and 2012.

DeMint also proposed an amendment that would strip federal funding for implementation of the Democrats' healthcare reform law.

President Obama's former rival for the White House, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), offered amendments to go after high-speed rail funding.

In response to Florida's decision to reject federal funds to build a high-speed train system between Orlando and Miami, McCain has offered an amendment that would force those funds back into the Treasury. The administration plans to shift Florida's rail money to another project.

Some of the amendments also deal with amounts of federal spending that could be considered minuscule when compared to the overall federal budget.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has floated an amendment that would force all public employees to fly coach when traveling around the country.

McCain offered another amendment that would prohibit the Government Printing Office from printing copies of the budget.

Under the agreement struck by Senate leadership in January, the Senate must take up all of the 125 amendments offered unless senators agree to drop or combine their requests. Staff members of the Senate Small Business committee are currently working with senators to broker deals that would avoid time-consuming floor votes and increase the chances that the bill will clear the Senate this week.

In all, only about 20 of the of the proposed amendments are actually germane to the underlying text of the Small Business Reauthorization Act, or S. 493, which would provide funding for the Small Business Innovation Research program and the Small Business Technology Transfer program, which Democrats say will create jobs.

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