The only way to avoid time-consuming votes and allow the bill to proceed is to convince senators offering them to combine or drop their proposals.
The three amendments holding up the bill, according to Reid, are:
- Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s (R-Texas) proposal to delay the implementation of the healthcare reform law until a final resolution is reached in pending lawsuits;
- Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) plan to form a bipartisan commission to improve oversight of government spending, and
- Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) proposal to establish a point of order against any effort to reduce benefits paid to Social Security recipients, raise the retirement age or create private retirement accounts.
“I think they [the amendments] are offered in good faith, and I think we should be able to get votes on them even though they have nothing to do with the legislation,” Reid said Wednesday.
To further complicate matters, Reid says other senators are now demanding votes on their own pet amendments as part of a deal.
“Others have now come into the fray, and it’s making it very difficult to get votes on these three amendments,” said Reid. “It’s unfortunate, but that’s where we are.”
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 would create jobs.
The Senate is scheduled to begin a two-week holiday starting at the end of this week. Leaders hope to complete work on the small-business bill as well as finalize the fiscal year 2011 budget before that break begins.