Acting on growing frustration with what they see as Democratic spending gone wild, Republicans in the Senate blocked a vote on a $410 billion omnibus spending bill. With the help of a handful of Dem senators including Evan Bayh and Russell Feingold, opponents signaled to Majority Leader Harry Reid that he did not have the votes to pass the measure, which has been criticized for its 8,500 earmarks. Though a vote was scheduled for 8:15 p.m., and even ailing Ted Kennedy was summoned for his vote, late in the evening Democrats were forced to start coming up with a stopgap budget measure to keep the federal government running and continue to pay staff members.
Senate aides told the Times that the measure was expected to pass eventually next week, after Republicans were allowed to propose amendments (few of which, if any, will make it onto the bill). The delay, then, is mostly aimed at sending a message to Democrats — and voters — that a line is being drawn over government super-spending. And to highlight President Obama's support of the pricey bill and its massive load of earmarks.