WASHINGTON – House Democrats stonewalled a bill that was anticipated to pass Wednesday, largely because of questions about procedure.
A conglomeration of 11 separate pieces of legislation that targeted job creation and small business, the bill was largely non-controversial when passed by the House in September, but Democrats on the floor Wednesday strongly objected to a move to suspend the rules and pass the bill without going through committee again.
“This is not a good start for the 114th Congress,” said Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich. “It has not yet been 24 hours since members of this Congress were sworn in, and what we have before us is a package of 11 complex bills with significant implications… some of which has not gone through the regular legislative process.”
Fellow Democrat Keith Ellison, D-Minn., encouraged his colleagues to reject the bill. “If you voted for it last fall that is no reason to vote for it now.”
Republicans favor the bill for clarifying the Dodd-Frank Act and easing small business investment company regulations, among other provisions. Some Democrats voiced concerns about the way the bill would modify SEC Rule 701 on stock sharing.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., spoke against the provisions that would change how Dodd-Frank is interpreted. “We’re tired of really bad Wall Street giveaways being tacked on to other legislation,” she said. “This looks like a Republican strategy to put Wall Street over Main Street.”
However, bill sponsor Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, R.-Pa., emphasized that the bulk of the bill remains identical to when it was passed by a vote of 320-102 in September. Wednesday’s vote failed by a vote of 276-146.
The Small Business Investor Alliance worked to push the bill to the Senate last year. “People voted against it on process grounds, not on substance grounds,” said Brett Palmer, its president. “When this goes to the regular order through the committee and it comes back to the floor, it will pass overwhelmingly.”