Small-business loan fund bill delayed until September

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The Senate on Thursday shelved a plan to create a $30 billion loan fund for cash-strapped small businesses, delaying final passage of the legislation until September at the earliest.

Although Senate leaders in both parties were still working toward a compromise late Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the Senate will not return to the bill until next week. Even if the Senate approved it, the bill would have to go back to the House, which is set to begin its August break, The Washington Post reports.

The bill failed to advance as a united Republican caucus voted Thursday to continue its filibuster after Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reached an impasse over the number of amendments that the GOP could offer.

Democrats agreed to three; Republicans demanded four, the newspaper reported.

"We are disappointed that the Senate could not resolve procedural differences and come to an agreement which would have allowed the bill a final vote, where it would have prevailed with strong bipartisan support," Mat Dunn, legislative director of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, told Soundings Trade Only this morning.

The NMMA supported the measure, which included provisions to enhance and expand the Small Business Administration Dealer Floorplan Financing Program.

"Senator [Mary] Landrieu, D-La., plans to continue to work over the weekend to secure an agreement that would allow the bill to proceed, but time is running out, as the Senate adjourns on Aug. 6. The House adjourns today," Dunn said. "Ultimately, we'll have to get back to this bill in September, when Congress reconvenes for an abbreviated period before the midterm elections."

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