Deal in progress on small-business bill, says Reid

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) signaled Tuesday that leadership is close to reaching a deal on amendments that would allow the pending Small Business Administration (SBA) funding bill to go forward.

"There are just a few issues outstanding, and we'd really like to get that done and we're going to do our utmost to get that agreement so we can complete that bill at the earliest possible date," the Senate majority leader said.

The SBA funding bill is in its fourth week pending in the Senate. Although the underlying legislation is fairly non-controversial, senators from both parties have taken advantage of the open amendment process to file more than 125 amendments — of which only about 20 are germane. To avoid time-consuming votes on those amendments and allow the bill to proceed, senators offering them must agree to combine or drop their requests.

The Small Business Reauthorization Act, or S. 493, would provide funding for the Small Business Innovation Research program and the Small Business Technology Transfer program, which Democrats say will create jobs.

The Senate will be in a period of business until 5 p.m., when Reid has reserved time to address the body.