Small-Business Bill Likely Done Until September

Posted August 5, 2010 at 10:49am

Any bipartisan deal to finish work on a Senate GOP small-business lending bill will likely have to wait until September, sources in both parties said Thursday.

Senators have been at an impasse for two weeks over how many amendments to allow to the bill and which proposals each party would be able to offer. Talks have been virtually nonexistent this week, one GOP source said.

Majority Leader Harry Reid strongly hinted Thursday that he had run out of time in this work period, given Senators are slated to leave town for the five-week August recess Friday.

“We believe we have the necessary votes to prevail on that,” the Nevada Democrat said. “We have problems with time. … Without getting into the intricacies of how I plan to move forward, we are going to move forward — it’s just a question of when on small business.”

Reid held out hope that he could still get an agreement with Republicans to pass a child nutrition bill on Thursday, and he said he would try to pass a measure funding an Agriculture Department discrimination suit with black farmers. However, Reid noted the only way he could get the black farmers deal done Thursday or Friday would be by unanimous consent. That route is unlikely to succeed, given objections.

The Majority Leader also noted he would try to set the stage for Senate debate on the defense authorization bill in September.