December 16th, 2010
08:47 PM ET

Senate Democrats give up bid to pass $1.1 trillion spending bill

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/12/16/government.spending/story.demint.gi.jpg caption="Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina has said he might ask that the bill be read aloud." width=300 height=169]

CNN Wire Staff

Washington (CNN) - In a dramatic twist played out on the floor of the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid conceded Thursday night he lacked the votes to bring up a nearly $1.1 trillion spending bill designed to fund the federal government for the rest of the current fiscal year.

Reid, D-Nevada, accused Republicans of withdrawing previously pledged support for the bill, and said he would work with the Senate Republican leader to draft a short-term spending measure that would keep the government running beyond Saturday, when the current spending authorization resolution expires.

The shift announced by Reid was a Republican victory because it killed the bill they opposed and will likely put off major spending decisions for the rest of fiscal year 2011 until a more conservative Congress convenes in January.

The House of Representatives has passed a resolution that authorizes spending at the same level as last year until September 30, when fiscal year 2011 ends. The Senate spending bill, drafted by Democrats and Republicans on the Appropriations Committee, was a more flexible appropriation measure that would have given government departments more leeway in how they spend their budgets.

Earlier Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates called for the Senate to pass the spending bill because it would allow his department to meet changing priorities in the current year.

Republicans, however, complained the Senate bill would have continued excessive government spending including $8 billion in earmarks, or provisions requested by individual legislators.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Raw Politics
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Mark Sumile

    This is just more of the same: American politics is a joke. But, it's not just the politicians' fault. The people are part of this institution and We The People have let the political gamers get away with these kinds of high brow hijinks for far too long, and I applaud AC360's attempts to stop it. However, if I could make a suggestion: I would like to see your program tie the big pieces (national deficit, tax and banking, health care, education, consumer product index vs. average household income, campaigning while governing, etc) together with more consistency. As you've pointed out, a lot of these politicians have polar opposite messages when you take what they say into a broader, cross-domain view, and I think your program is uniquely formatted in a way that may able to cover this expansion in scope.

    December 17, 2010 at 5:49 am |
  2. Danny from KY

    Reid and Anderson Cooper on CNN went on and on about the republicians not voting for the trillion dollar pork bill. At no time did Reid nor Anderson Cooper say anything that the DEMS have the majority and didn't need one vote if all the Dems voted for it. AC 360 on CNN failed to mention that important point. So much for keeping them honest Anderson Cooper and CNN.

    December 17, 2010 at 1:20 am |
  3. royce weller

    Dear Anderson:

    I normally enjoy your broadcast each night. Tonight, however, you failed to do your homework.

    In response to your guest, regarding the Senate pulling the budget bill, you stated "isn't this a democracy?" Your guest responded, "not in the Senate." Well you are both wrong. We are a Republic – representative form of government.

    Second, as to the "birther" topic, you once again have failed to do your homework (two segments this week alone). I will not wade into the debate over whether President Obama is a natural born citizen or not, but you need to be careful with your word choice. The question, as I understand it, is the document Mr. Obama has presented a birth certificate or a certificate of live birth? It appears to me, and I am no expert, it's a certificate of live birth; not a birth certificate. So make sure you ask the right question next time ... which document is it? Their legal standing, in all states, is much different.


    Royce Weller

    December 16, 2010 at 11:49 pm |

    i think its sad that the gop (dem) are so worried about the one tax that (rep) get and not worried about the familys that need the unemployment or the lower taxes i wish they can come and wake up christmas morning and tell my kids why santa missed our house or why we wont have a place to live when all this is over with. they are surpose to be working for the little people but i see we voted for the wrong dem i guess i need to be a rep to have something .they have just messed it up for the little people to act like they were right they need to stand behind obama because he was thinking about us.

    December 16, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  5. Tom Porrecca

    Congress has to wiseup with the spending. The communists did not destroy our country–just give these clowns in congress some time and they will destroy us from within with trillions of dollars of debt

    December 16, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  6. Charlene

    The Congress was meant to represent the American public on two levels, the Senate to represent all the States equally, the House based on population size.

    The main fault of republican democracy has clearly been demonstrated these last few days, of which I will use the economics term "principal-agent problem". Through the electoral system (do not get me started on my thoughts there), these people elected to Congress in both sections are supposed to represent what the people want. However, these elected officials are no longer representing anybody other than lobbyists, corporations, and others from the higher socio-economic castes.

    It must be nice to get angry that you cannot get things done before your supposedly deserved winter vacation break, when so many of your constituents are struggling to feed their families, pay their bills, keep their residences, and above all keep warm.

    Our representatives no longer care because they get their health benefits, Social Security, and other benefits whenever they retire, and get to enjoy the best of the best regardless, while the rest of us struggle to survive.

    December 16, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    I never realized it took that much money to run the government for a little more than 2 weeks. At least the earmarks didn't pass along with the rest – 8 billion in earmarks is way too much to pass blindly. If the earmark items are worth while and actually merit funding they should be in their own bill and debated on their merits.

    December 16, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
  8. William of Iowa

    Senator McConnell's remark "Until then we need to step back and respect the will of the voters" was a surprise. Just what Republicans have done since the will of the voters placed a majority of Democrats in the legislative and executive branches of government. When the "more conservative" electee's are sworn in, what will be the plan?

    December 16, 2010 at 9:48 pm |