Efforts to pass legislation aimed at helping small businesses provide health insurance to uninsured employees have run into a roadblock in the Senate. Backers of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), on May 11 fell five votes short of the 60 needed to cut off a filibuster. The House passed a bill in July that would let firms that belong to trade associations buy health coverage jointly.

Opponents of the bill, such as the AFL-CIO, were pleased at the Senate vote. But business groups weren’t happy. Associated Build-ers & Contractors CEO Kirk Pickerel says it is “disgraceful“ that a Senate minority blocked the measure. U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue calls the action “an insult to America’s small businesses.”