This vote was on whether to bring debate to a close on a bill that would provide a variety of tax incentives for small businesses, allow small businesses to write assets off more quickly, create a new $30 billion small business lending fund, and make several other changes to tax policy intended to encourage small business growth.
Republicans had threatened to hold up the bill’s consideration indefinitely with a filibuster, causing Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nev., to file what is known as a “cloture motion,” which is a vote on bringing debate on a bill or amendment to a close.
If the Senate votes to “invoke cloture” – or bring debate to a close – then lawmakers must either hold a vote on the legislation, amendment or motion in question, or move on to other business. This type of motion is most often called on contentious legislation where the leadership is concerned that consideration could be held up indefinitely by a handful of senators.
Max Baucus, D-Mont., said the legislation is estimated to create up to 500,000 new jobs.
“This bill has been hard work, but this bill is work worth doing. So let’s bring this debate to a close. Let’s reject the transparent efforts to delay some have thrown in the way, and let’s target this targeted tax relief to small businesses today,” Baucus said.
Republicans did not argue specifically against the cloture motion, but rather spent their time during this debate prodding Democrats for not allowing two Republican amendments to extend a research and development tax credit and a tax credit for biodiesel fuel production (see votes 234 and 235).
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Democrats’ not allowing Republicans to offer those amendments has made the bill “needlessly political.”
“It is my hope our friends on the other side will now join the President and the Republicans in supporting these two important pieces of job-creating legislation. Unfortunately, the Democrats whole game plan over the last year and a half and through today is to tick as many items as possible off the liberal wish list while they still have a chance,” McConnell said.
By a vote of 61-38, the Senate voted to bring debate to a close. Every Democrat present voted to bring debate to a close. All but two Republicans present voted against bringing debate to a close. The end result is that debate was brought to a close on a measure that would provide several tax incentives for small businesses and create a $30 billion small business lending fund.