This was a vote on whether to allow a Democratic amendment to receive an up-or-down vote on the floor of the Senate. The amendment would have corrected what Democrats called “glaring defects” in a bill aimed at helping small businesses and entrepreneurs gain access to financial capital.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) offered the amendment during consideration of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS, Act. The bill had already been passed by a large bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, and President Obama had signaled his support.
The JOBS Act was meant to help small, entrepreneurial companies raise money to grow their businesses by exempting them from some federal disclosure rules and creating new avenues to access capital. Sen. Reed’s amendment took steps to ensure the companies benefiting from the bill were truly small businesses. It also included protections for investors.
“This legislation corrects glaring defects in the House-proposed bill on a so-called jobs bill. It protects investors. It allows capital formation, but it does not do that at the expense of investors,” Sen. Reed said. “Our bill actually tries to create jobs, not just opportunities to raise funds through Wall Street.”
Republicans argued that the JOBS Act was urgently needed and that amending the bill would risk delaying it, since the House would be required to hold another vote on the Senate’s changes.
Even though 54 senators voted to move to an up-or-down vote on Sen. Reed’s amendment and only 45 voted against, the motion failed because it was brought up under Senate rules that require 60 votes for passage. Voting “yea” were 53 Democrats and 1 Republican. Voting “nay” were 45 Republicans. As a result, the Senate delayed consideration of Sen. Reed’s amendment to protect investors and ensure the companies benefiting from the JOBS Act were truly small businesses.