What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Helping Small Business : On a motion requiring all senators to report to the Senate floor, thereby allowing Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to address the full Senate on a contentious small business lending bill (2010 senate Roll Call 222)
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On a motion requiring all senators to report to the Senate floor, thereby allowing Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to address the full Senate on a contentious small business lending bill
senate Roll Call 222     Jul 29, 2010
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on a motion by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) instructing the Sergeant-at-Arms to request the presence of all absent senators. (This motion is known as a “live quorum,” or a “mandatory quorum.” The Sergeant-at-Arms is the chief law enforcement officer in the Senate. An appointee of the Majority Leader, he is responsible for compelling the presence of absent Senators during a quorum call.) Reid made this motion in order to address the full Senate on a contentious small business lending bill. That legislation established a $30 billion lending fund for community banks. Republicans had opposed the bill, arguing it was simply another taxpayer-funded bailout. Democrats argued it was necessary to thaw the credit market and enable small businesses to obtain loans.

[Reid had used the “mandatory quorum” motion in the past to address the full Senate on controversial legislation. A few months prior to this vote on the small business lending bill, Reid had used the same procedural motion to address the full Senate during an impasse on extending unemployment insurance for laid-off workers.]

Once this motion bringing senators to the floor had been voted on, Reid addressed his colleagues, and sharply criticized Republicans for failing – in his view – to work with Democrats in good faith to pass the small business bill: “As I went through the bill today, virtually every provision in this is bipartisan…It expands access to credit for small business all across America…This has the potential of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs… I was disappointed that my friends on the other side of the aisle have not been willing to work with us. It seems to me the goalposts were moved often, but I have been here a while and I understand how things work.”

Reid also proposed the Senate take a “cooling off” period to continue negotiations on the bill: “….I say to everyone here: Let's take a little time over the next couple of days to kind of cool down. This is important. I know we have argued and scrapped…But let's do this legislation. This is not a victory, if we can get this done, for the Democrats. This is not a defeat for the Republicans. It is a victory for Democrats and Republicans and independents and the people who supply most of the jobs in America today--small businesses.”

The vote on the “live quorum” was 70-23. Every Democrat present voted yes. Of Republicans present, 12 voted yes and 23 voted no. As a result, the Senate agreed to a motion that required absent senators to come to the Senate floor, and was intended to help bring about an agreement on moving forward with a small business lending bill.

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