[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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