Sen. Jeff Merkley (above) and some other Democrats aren't happy that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is limiting amendments to the House-passed JOBS Act.
“I hope they are not disappointed,” Levin said, adding that he was grateful that their substitute would get a vote. He declined to say if it would win the 60 votes needed to pass. It is unclear if Republicans will vote in favor of the Democratic plan. Seven Republicans would need to break ranks and join with the 53 Democrats for the amendment to pass.
The Democratic proposal includes a raft of consumer protection provisions that Democrats argue would strike the right balance between easing access to capital and protecting consumers. The proposal also includes a provision to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which is designed to facilitate the purchase of U.S. exports to international buyers.
The second vote will be to cut off debate on an amendment to the House package that would only reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. The amendment is bipartisan, and with Senate Banking ranking member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) co-sponsoring the proposal, Republicans could be enticed to provide the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on the amendment.
Supporters of the proposal argue that failure to reauthorize the bank would put U.S. businesses at a disadvantage to their foreign competitors. The bank’s authorization expires at the end of May, but it will hit its loan limit in about two weeks.
The conservative Club for Growth came out against the Export-Import Bank amendment. The amendment, the group said, would increase the bank’s power by a whopping 40 percent, expanding its loan capital limit from $100 billion to $140 billion.
“The Export-Import Bank’s actions are nothing more than market-distorting subsidies that pick winners and losers in the private sector. Market forces should dictate trade flows, not bureaucrats and politicians,” the group noted in a statement.
It is also unclear, if the Senate adopts the bank amendment, what the bill’s prospects would be in the House because of possible opposition from conservatives in that chamber.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.