Senate again confronts array of amendments to small business bill

The Senate will take up a Small Business Administration (SBA) bill Monday afternoon when it returns from its recess, resuming its march through a number of amendments that have little to do with the underlying bill and bogged down the legislation earlier in the month.

The Small Business Reauthorization Act, titled S. 493, would provide funding for the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer program (STTR), which Democrats say are critical to sustain job creation.

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Amendments currently pending on the bill range from one that would establish a point-of-order making a two-thirds majority necessary in the Senate and the House to consider any legislation to make major changes to Social Security, proposed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders points to disconnect between 'mainstream media' and public Sanders not ready to endorse Clinton: 'Stand up, be bolder' Sanders: 'We lost some very important fights' in Democratic platform MORE (I-Vt.), to an amendment designed to force a political showdown on the Senate floor over Environmental Protection Agency climate change regulations.

Progress was initially arrested on the bill more than two weeks ago when a coalition of conservatives, led by Sen. David VitterDavid VitterFed chairwoman blasts Trump on debt Senate campaign posts private conversation on Facebook Rand Paul endorses in La. Senate race MORE (R-La.), pledged to block debate on any legislation that did not deal directly with the budget in a “significant” way. 

But in an 84-12 vote, the Senate decided to bring the bill to the floor after several senators voted to allow debate in order to use it as a vehicle for amendments on other pressing matters.

The bill was further delayed as the Senate took up a resolution from the House that week to avoid a government shutdown and fund the government for an additional three weeks. That funding measure will expire April 8.

The amendments currently pending on the bill are:

The Senate will convene at 2 p.m., resume consideration of the small business bill at 3 p.m. and proceed to consider the nomination of Mae D’Agostino to be a United States District Judge for the Northern District of New York at 4:30 p.m.

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