Senate GOP Forces Delay on $410B Spending Bill

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 5, 2009 9:02 PM CST
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Feb. 25.   (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
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(Newser) – Senate Republicans, demanding the right to change a huge spending bill, forced Democrats tonight to put off a final vote on the measure until next week. The surprise development will force Congress to pass a stopgap funding bill to avoid a partial shutdown of the government. Republicans have blasted the $410 billion measure as too costly. But the reason for GOP unity was that Democrats had not allowed them enough opportunities to offer amendments.

Majority Leader Harry Reid canceled the vote, saying he was one vote short of the 60 needed to close debate and free the bill for President Obama's signature. Democrats and their allies control 58 seats, though at least a handful of Democrats oppose the measure over its cost or changes in US policy toward Cuba. That meant Democrats needed five or six Republican votes to advance the bill.