Budget Votes on Hold

by Andrew Stiles

EARLIER TODAY: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has accused Senate Republicans of reneging on an agreement made during last week’s meeting with Vice President Joe Biden to hold votes today on two competing spending proposals — the House Republican plan ($61 billion in spending cuts) and the Senate Democratic ($4.7 billion).

“There’s no question that was the agreement made,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “I’m disappointed now that Republicans refuse to keep their word.”

Reid argued that Senate Republicans are afraid to vote on the House plan (H.R. 1) — he called it the “Tea Party plan” — because they have finally realized how “reckless” and “irresponsible” it is. He promised to do whatever he could to force Republicans to vote on the bill.

Shortly before Reid spoke, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) once again described the Senate Democratic plan as “unserious,” noting that the cuts it proposes ($4.7 billion) are just slightly more than the daily deficit run by the United States.

“Frankly, it’s just embarrassing,” he said, urging President Obama to get involved in the negotiations because “Democrats in congress cannot bring themselves on their own to get serious. They don’t even want to admit these problems exist.”

UPDATE:  When asked about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comments this morning that Senate Republicans “don’t want to vote on their own bill,” a GOP Senate aide assured us that “the sky is not falling.”

“When we finish the patent bill, there will be votes on both the House-passed bill and the status quo Democrat bill,” the aide said. “That has never been in question.”

Reid’s earlier remarks, the aide suggested, amounted to a whole lot of fuss over nothing.

“My guess is that Sen. Reid’s speech today had more to do with an attempt to distract you from Sen. Manchin’s speech and the need to fund the Cowboy Poetry Festival than anything based in reality.”

More on Manchin here.

UPDATE II: After what he described as “a few turns in the road,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has added H.R. 1 to the Senate calendar for Wednesday. Three hours of debate will begin at noon, followed by a vote. Reid has set a 60-vote threshold for passage, and if the vote on H.R. 1 fails (which it will) the Senate will proceed to vote on the Senate Democratic plan, which will also need 60 votes to pass (and won’t get them). “We need to be able to show the American people where we are on these two measures,” Reid said.

Indeed, the fate of all the bronco-busting bards across the nation (and the very existence of tens of thousands) hangs in the balance.

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