Senator Reid's Leadership Failure

On March 10th, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Senate began consideration of  S. 493. They have been considering the “Small Business Research” bill since.

That’s right, aside from a few votes to keep the government open and funded, the Senate has been considering the same bill for six weeks.

Why the hold up? Republicans proposed several substantive amendments to the bill, and Senator Reid doesn’t want to hold votes.

Senator Reid is avoiding:

  • Senator Paul’s amendment, which cuts $200 billion in fiscal year 2011 spending;
  • Senator Hutchison’s amendment, which delays implementation of Obamacare until the pending court cases are resolved;
  • Senator Cornyn’s amendment, which creates a bipartisan commission to provide oversight and eliminate wasteful government spending;
  • And more.

This politically-motivated delay has wasted a month of Senate floor time. The Senate could be working on productive bills, reducing government waste or eliminating the regulations that stymie job growth. Instead, Senator Reid refuses to move forward and put Senators on the record with any votes on these amendments.

At the beginning of this Congress, Senator Reid reached a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The agreement allows an open amendment process during the consideration of select bills. S. 493 is on such bill.

It’s ridiculous that Senator Reid will not allow votes on these amendments. They are fully allowable and votes would put Senators on the record on important issues. Hiding behind endless delays is embarrassing and shows a complete lack of leadership.

Update: Reid Refuses Vote on Amendment to Protect Small Businesses

On April 14th, Senator Reid tried to hold a vote on the bill including six Democratic amendments and four Republican amendments. The Reid motion notably excluded efforts to force cost analysis of proposed regulations, a protection for small businesses. Senators Snowe and Coburn sponsored the amendment, which would force agencies to analyze the costs new regulations would pose to businesses.

Instead of agreeing to a vote on this amendment, Senator Reid threatened to pull the bill completely when the Senate returns from recess. His pattern is clear: no recorded votes controversial policy, no matter its importance to our country or economy.

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