After months of bi-partisan negotiations, Majority Leader Harry Reid conceded Thursday night that he lacked the votes to bring up the $1.1 trillion spending bill designed to fund the federal government for the rest of the current fiscal year, after nine GOP members suddenly reneged on their pledges to vote for it. As a result, Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are now negotiating the terms of a short-term spending bill that can pass unanimously, in order to avoid a federal shutdown. Now, major spending decisions have been handed over to the next Congress, a boost for the GOP’s agenda.
Democrats on the floor were reportedly “visibly wounded” by the development, while Senator John McCain laughed and said, “I think there’s very little doubt that the Majority Leader of the United States Senate would not have taken the action he just took if we didn’t have 41 votes to stop this monstrosity. A 1,924-page bill just died.” Reid noted that the bill had included earmarks benefiting both parties: “If you looked up hypocrisy in the dictionary, under that would be people who ask for earmarks but vote against them.”
The good news: Since this bill was killed, there might now be time for a few others this weekend. (And then nobody will have to work on Christmas, perhaps. Woo.) Reid announced that the Senate will move to break filibusters on the DREAM Act and “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal. The double-whammy suggests Democrats expect one to fail. But, according to a Reid aide, if the filibuster is broken, the final vote on the DADT repeal will come Sunday night, as hoped for. So, there’s that!