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Senate Votes Down Cut, Cap and Balance Bill

Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call

The Senate on Friday voted to kill legislation passed by the GOP-led House that would cut and cap future spending, tabling the Cut, Cap and Balance bill on a 51-46 vote.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did not pull any punches on his feelings about the GOP bill.

“Its one of the worst pieces of legislation ever to be placed on the floor of the United States Senate,” Reid said before the vote, echoing comments he made Thursday.

The vote comes as Congressional leaders and the White House are working to win support to raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2 and avoid default. Talks are focused on a deficit reduction package that Republicans insist should consist of only spending cuts. Democrats agree that spending needs to be trimmed but are pushing for including tax increases in the plan.

“There is simply no more time to waste voting and debating measures that have no hope of becoming law,” Reid said.

After the vote, Reid also announced that, despite prior plans for the chamber to be in session this weekend — and after castigating House Republicans on Thursday for not being in session this weekend — the Senate would not be working over the weekend and its next vote would take place on Monday.

Reid did not immediately say on what legislation the Senate would move. But he added that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Barack Obama are working on a debt reduction plan and that the House would have to act first once a deal is reached because the Constitution decrees that legislation containing revenue changes originate in the lower chamber.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans said they were disappointed in today’s vote.

“We could solve this problem this morning if Democrats would let us vote on the Cut, Cap, and Balance bill — and join us in backing this legislation that Republicans support,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.

“A vote to table this bill is a vote to ignore this crisis even longer,” McConnell continued, even though the backup plan to raise the debt ceiling that had been regarded as the best chance to avoid default was his own creation.

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