This vote was on a motion to end debate and allow an up-or-down vote on an amendment providing tax breaks aimed at start-up businesses.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) offered the amendment during consideration of a larger small-business tax break bill. Her amendment would have added a number of tax breaks to encourage start-up businesses. For example, businesses would have been able to deduct their start-up costs from their tax bills. In addition, individuals who purchased stock in a small business would have been exempted from paying taxes on any increase in the value of the stock. However, before the Senate could vote on the amendment, it would have to pass a motion for “cloture,” which sets a time at which the otherwise unlimited debate would come to an end.
Sen. Landrieu argued that her amendment would have encouraged the kind of risk-taking entrepreneurship that generates strong economic growth.
“The benefit of this proposal is that we are actually rewarding the risk-takers who are digging into their savings and taking second mortgages out on their homes and putting some of their other savings at risk behind their idea,” Sen. Landrieu said. “It is not just taking money out of the Treasury and throwing it at all small businesses. It is taking that money … and saying, ‘OK. Let's target it to those individuals who are putting their lives on the line. They are putting their livelihood on the line and their future on the line. What can we do to support them?’”
No senators spoke out against Sen. Landrieu’s amendment. However, Republicans objected to procedural maneuvers by Democratic leaders that prevented more amendments from being considered. They vowed to block the small-business tax break legislation from moving forward unless Republicans could offer amendments.
“The problem with that is the people of Florida sent me here and, just like there are 99 other people who serve here, they have a right to have their voice heard,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said. “Unfortunately, some of the ideas we have offered will not get a vote, and therefore we will not be able to move forward on that bill as a result.”
Even though the motion to end debate and allow a final vote on Sen. Landrieu’s amendment received 57 “yea” votes and only 41 voted “nay,” the motion was defeated because it was brought up under Senate rules that require 60 votes for passage. Voting “yea” were 52 Democrats and 5 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 40 Republicans and 1 Democrat. As a result, the Senate defeated the effort to move forward with a vote on an amendment that would provide tax breaks aimed at start-up businesses.