But Republicans leaders filibustered after engaging for days in a procedural fight with Democrats over the number of amendments they would be able to offer during floor debate, and what issues the amendments would cover. A last-ditch offer by Democrats to allow three Republican amendments was refused by the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
The vote followed several heated exchanges on the floor, in which Republicans accused Democrats of politicizing the bill and trying to deny them the opportunity to propose changes. Democrats countered that Republicans were simply obstructing everything and some of their amendments were unrelated to the bill.
“That is the tradition in the United States Senate: majority rules but you accommodate the rights of the minority,” said Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, who is the senior Republican on the small-business committee. “We’re faced with a procedural impasse here because we’re being denied the opportunity to offer some amendments.”
But some of those groups, including the National Federation of Independent Business, said that while they supported the overall legislation, they also supported some amendments that Republicans were seeking to offer.
Senator George LeMieux, Republican of Florida, who helped draft the bill, said Democrats had taken a bipartisan measure and created a partisan firefight over it.
“This small business bill should pass and it should pass with relevant amendments,” Mr. LeMieux said. “Before I am a Republican, I am a Floridian and an American, and this bill is good for our country.”