Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) delivered the weekly Republican address today. He said that with “debate in Washington focused on how best to address our nation’s growing debt, it’s important to remember the role it plays in our critical priority of job creation.”
“The current record-setting deficits – and the $14 trillion plus in accumulated national debt – are serious impediments to job creation because they have a ripple effect right to Main Street.
“Our job creators can’t thrive in an environment where creditors pull back because of our government’s debt, because without credit, small businesses can’t grow.
“Our debt threatens to devalue the dollar which will lead to increased costs and interest rates, which has a chilling effect on small business growth.”
He also said that job creation “in this country doesn’t start with government; it starts with our businesses, especially our small businesses.”
“Small businesses create between 60 and 80 percent of all new jobs, according to the Small Business Administration.”
Johanns discussed the impact of government regulations on small businesses.
“In the State of the Union Address in January, the President pledged to eliminate, and I’m quoting, ‘burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs,’ unquote.
“Since then, his Administration has proposed or enacted more than 250 regulations amounting to more than $24 billion dollars in regulatory costs. And again, that’s just since January.
“That’s $24 billion dollars needed by small businesses across the country to hire new employees and to grow their businesses – it should not be funneled out of the economy or your communities and re-routed back to Washington to the government.
“Washington is simply out of touch with the folks on Main Street trying to do their share to boost our economy.
“They hear us talk about job creation all the time, but they also bear witness to the constant contradictions.
“If everyone is serious about job creation, in addition to reducing the debt, let’s reduce burdensome regulations that serve no purpose other than to insert more government into the lives of citizens.”
A “fiery dispute between Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday threatened to scuttle a small-business research bill after four weeks on the Senate floor,” Roll Call reports.
Snowe insisted on a vote on her amendment that would require reviews of the effect of new regulations on small businesses, but Reid said unnamed Democratic and Republican Senators objected to holding one.
“I am disappointed that my friend from Maine is killing this legislation,” Reid said to Snowe as she objected to a unanimous consent request to finish the small-business bill after votes on 10 additional amendments.
Snowe argued that her amendment directly speaks to the subject of the bill and that Senators can vote against it if they don’t like it.
But Reid said that the small-business bill probably would not return to the Senate floor if Snowe continues to press for a vote, because too many other national priorities must be addressed after the Senate returns May 2 from a two-week recess. He hinted that she was trying to “send a political message” by offering the amendment.
This is in relation to the SBIR and STTR Reauthorization Act (S. 493).
The Senate “will almost certainly begin its two-week recess without passing the Small Business Administration (SBA) funding bill, which has been stalled on the floor for almost four weeks, Senate staffers close to leadership told The Hill on Thursday.”
This is in relation to the SBIR and STTR Reauthorization Act (S. 493).
Senate leaders “were unable to move the bill forward because of disagreements on three amendments that are not germane, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on Wednesday.”
The three amendments holding up the bill, according to Reid, are:
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s (R-Texas) proposal to delay the implementation of the healthcare reform law until a final resolution is reached in pending lawsuits;
Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) plan to form a bipartisan commission to improve oversight of government spending; and
Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) proposal to establish a point of order against any effort to reduce benefits paid to Social Security recipients, raise the retirement age or create private retirement accounts.
Much of the Senate’s attention “has also been consumed with the budget debate for fiscal year 2011.”
Senators have taken a series of votes on amendments in relation to the SBIR and STTR Reauthorization Act (S. 493). Each required 60 votes for passage.
Several dealt with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered an amendment that would “fully revoke the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act,” according to POLITICO. It was defeated by a vote of 50-50.
Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) offered an amendment that would have exempted “agriculture and small industrial facilities from climate rules.” Baucus said his amendment focused on protecting agriculture producers. It was defeated by a vote of 7-93.
Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) wanted to impose a “two-year delay on EPA climate rules for industrial facilities.” His amendment was defeated by a vote of 12-88.
Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) offered an amendment that would “prevent the government from regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and oil refineries for two years,” according to the Kalamazoo Gazette. It was defeated by a vote of 7-93. According to The Hill, it would also “exempt agriculture from greenhouse-gas rules and boost a tax credit program for manufacturing green-energy equipment, among other provisions.”
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) also received votes on two of his amendments. The first would “prohibit unemployment insurance for Americans earning one million dollars or more in adjusted gross income,” according to an e-mail from his office.
It would do so by requiring “those seeking unemployment insurance payments to sign a form certifying the applicant did not earn $1 million or more in the previous year.” The amendment was adopted by a vote of 100-0.
His second amendment would require the Office of Management and Budget and “the executive branch to consolidate duplication within federal agencies identified in a recent GAO report on duplication.” They would “have to rescind at least $5 billion in duplicative spending where they are able to do so administratively.” The amendment was adopted by a vote of 64-36.
A Democratic alternative offered by Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) was defeated by a vote of 57-43.
A motion offered by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to the SBIR and STTR Reauthorization Act (S. 493) has been tabled by a vote of 90-10.
Senator Paul offered a “motion to commit” on the small business measure that would, if adopted, refer the bill to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with instructions to add language expressing the sense of the Senate that the “President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” according to a press release.
The wording of the resolution originated from a quote given by then-Senator Obama in 2007.