To Reach 60, Reid Kept Vote Open for an Hour

Posted December 12, 2009 at 10:08am

A routine Senate cloture vote on the $446.8 billion omnibus bill became a drawn out, “hurry up and wait— affair Saturday morning as Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) held the vote open for nearly an hour in order to accommodate two tardy lawmakers and one reluctant Democrat.The measure ultimately passed, 60 to 34.Republican Sens. Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Richard Shelby (Ala.) joined Democrats in voting for the spending measure.But with Democratic Sens. Evan Bayh (Ind.) and Russ Feingold (Wis.) voting against — and reform-minded Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) wanting to vote no — Reid was forced to keep the vote open for an hour as the chamber waited on Sens. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.).Byrd’s failing health and the fact that he is confined to a wheelchair resulted in the veteran lawmaker being nearly an hour late for the vote, while Lieberman — an Orthodox Jew — had to walk several miles to work Saturday morning because it is the Sabbath.But with their arrivals — and “yes— votes — Reid secured the 60 votes needed to pass the legislation while allowing McCaskill to vote against the earmark-laden spending bill.