This was a vote on the resolution or “rule” setting the terms for debating H.R. 2965. H.R. 2965 reauthorized funding for the Small Businesses Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program. The Innovation Research Program makes grants to thousands of small businesses. Its purposed is to help small innovative businesses gain access to federal research and development funds, and to allows federal agencies to benefit from the ideas generated by small private companies. The Technology Transfer Program includes non-profit research institutes for the same purpose.
The rule setting the terms for debate limited the number of amendments that could be offered to the legislation. The Republican minority had been complaining during most of the congressional session about rules they claimed restricted the ability of Members to offer amendments to various pieces of legislation the House had been considering.
Rep. Polis (D-CO), who was leading the support for the rule, claimed that these research and technology programs had been very successful. He noted that many patents had resulted from them and that 1.5 million workers were employed by program participants. Polis claimed that: “(A)cross the country, communities have enjoyed the economic impact of investment in small business. The projects of (program) participants have resulted in not only high-wage, direct research employment but also have generated manufacturing jobs right here in this country and a host of support industry jobs.”
Rep. Foxx (R-NC) was leading the opposition to the rule. She first said that H.R. 2965 was a “relatively noncontroversial bill which might not even have needed to be considered under a rule except for the opportunity for some of our Democratic colleagues to get some amendments passed.” Then she claimed that the process of debating and voting on a rule could have been accomplished very quickly, if the Democratic majority had proposed a rule under which there would not have been any limit on the number of amendments that could be offered.
Foxx went on to say that “the (Democratic) majority has continued its process of shutting out not only the minority, but many (Democratic Members) . . . by not allowing their amendments to be made in order. So we will oppose this rule on that basis.” Foxx also said that amendments should be freely permitted to this particular measure as a way for the House to consider language that will “make sure that the money that is going to help small businesses in this country is being used as wisely as it can.”
The resolution passed by a vote of 236-187. All Two hundred and thirty-six “aye” votes were cast by Democrats. Twelve other Democrats joined all one hundred and seventy-five Republicans and voted “nay”. As a result, the House was able to begin debate on the bill reauthorizing funding for small business research and technology programs.