Friday April 15, 2011 | 10:53 AM

Sen. Olympia Snowe and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid got into a fight on the Senate floor Thursday night over a proposal by the Maine Republican to place more requirements on the federal government to review how regulations affect small businesses.

Snowe, the top Republican on the Senate's small business committee, says her amendment calls for “regulatory reform” that would ensure that “onerous” regulations don’t harm small businesses and prevent small business owners from being “free to compete and create jobs.”
But Reid, D-Nev., said Snowe’s amendment is “not relevant or germane” to a broader small business bill that the Senate has been working on for weeks. He further said it is too complicated and wide-reaching to include in the overall legislation without further scrutiny in Senate hearings, and charged that Snowe's insistence on it coming to a vote would result in the death this year of the overall bill.
So Reid said he was using his power as majority leader to prevent Snowe’s amendment from coming to a vote on the floor. For her part, Snowe used the procedural power a single senator possesses to lodge an objection and keep a bill from moving to a final vote.
The result of the argument, according to Reid: the bill may not go back on the Senate floor for more debate and a final vote when the Senate comes back next month from a two-week recess.
Here is a link to the extended and testy exchange, which also got attention in a Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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