Senate Omnibus Vote Put Off Until Monday

Posted March 5, 2009 at 8:27pm

After intensely wrangling for votes on Wednesday and Thursday, Senate Democratic leaders were unable to clear the way for final passage of a $410 billion omnibus spending bill on Thursday night.

At least one vote shy of the 60 votes needed to beat back a Republican filibuster attempt, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the floor that “we’re going to have to continue work on this bill.—

“I wish that weren’t the case,— Reid said, noting Republican requests to debate further amendments on the spending bill. “We’ve had a significant number of amendments, but enough is in the eye of the beholder.—

A stop-gap spending bill that has kept the government funded since the fall expires on Friday, and with no omnibus approved, Reid said Congress will quickly pass a continuing resolution to maintain the government funding stream through Tuesday at midnight.

With wheeling and dealing still to be done, Reid said the chamber would debate as many as 10 to 12 amendments Friday, with final passage of the omnibus slated for Monday.

Many Republicans, including those who said they wanted to support the measure, were upset by Reid’s insistence that the chamber accept no amendments to the House-passed bill. Adding to Reid’s woes were Democratic Sens. Russ Feingold (Wis.) and Evan Bayh (Ind.), who opposed the bill because of thousands of earmarks for Member projects that were included.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was among those Thursday who wanted additional debate.

“I think there should be more amendments,— she said. “There’s a lot of duplicity with the stimulus that needs to be reconciled.—