Small-business bill shelved after it fails to clear hurdle

"The other side has refused to allow votes on some of the best ideas Republicans have offered for creating jobs as a part of this legislation," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in floor remarks on Wednesday. "We intend to oppose their efforts to short-circuit this debate until they do."

"There has been a disturbing trend of disregarding minority rights," added Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who has an amendment that was not allowed to go to a vote. "I am mystified as to why I can’t have a vote on this bill as the ranking member of the Small Business Committee."

Snowe's amendment calls for an evaluation of the effect of government regulations before they are implemented. 

Snowe, who is up for reelection next year, noted that prior to the two-week break, the Senate held votes on only 11 of the amendments filed, and questioned Reid's decision to recess the upper chamber.

"We didn't hold votes or debate these issues," said Snowe. "We went on a two-week break. That's a fact that was not lost on the America people."

Reid recently accused Snowe of seeking to kill the small-business bill, adding that unnamed senators on both sides of the aisle objected to her amendment.

Senate Small Business Committee Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who is the floor manager for the bill, said Snowe's amendment didn't get a vote because it had not been vetted by a committee. She also warned that Republicans' obstruction of the bill could have a negative effect on job creation if the SBA's funding is allowed to run out on May 31.

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. 

Reid has shelved the bill, and is now seeking a cloture vote on a controversial judicial nominee, John J. McConnell Jr., for the United States District Court of Rhode Island. Some Republicans are trying to block McConnell's confirmation because they believe he is a liberal ideologue.