Deal-Breakers? Reid Says Senate Republicans Don’t Want to Vote On Their Own Spending Bill

By Kristina

Mar 8, 2011 1:48pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports:

In the Senate, it seems, even something seemingly as simple as getting a party to vote on its own bill is a challenge.

Take today’s developments. According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, both parties agreed at last Thursday’s budget meeting with Vice President Biden that the Senate would vote on both parties’ dueling spending proposals, including the GOP’s House-passed bill.

Not so fast.

“Now Republicans are reneging on that deal,” Reid said this morning on the Senate floor. “They don’t want to vote on their own plan.”

Why? Democrats argue that Senate Republicans do not want to have to cast an up-or-down vote on the House-passed bill because if they oppose it, they risk alienating the Tea Party and if they support it, they risk alienating the more moderate side of the party.

So will the Senate vote today? That remains up in the air. Democrats say they have no intention of letting Republicans avoid a vote on the House-passed bill.

“The Republicans over here are going to have to vote on that terrible bill,” Reid said. “They are going to have to vote on it.”

But to do so, it won’t be as easier as Democrats had hoped. Ultimately, when the Senate does vote on the House-passed bill, it may merely turn out to be a procedural vote, rather than a final up-or-down vote.

A Republican aide argues that Reid’s claims were more an attempt to distract reporters from Democrat Joe Manchin’s criticisms of President Obama earlier in the day than “anything based in reality.”

Confused? The bottom line – whether the Senate votes today or not and whether they’re procedural votes or not – is that both proposals are going to fail. But if senators can’t even agree on setting test votes that are merely symbolic, then bridging a $50 billion difference in proposed cuts could be one tall order.

 

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Update:

We now have a set schedule for the Senate’s votes on the dueling spending bills.

Despite Sen. Reid's accusations today, the votes will take place Wednesday afternoon around 3p. The votes will be straight up-or-down votes on the proposals – not procedural votes.

Both proposals – the Democrats’ plan to cut $4.7 billion & the Republicans’ plan to cut $57 billion – are expected to go down to defeat due to the Senate’s 60-vote threshold.

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