Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to decry what he called a "mean-spirited" Republican plan to drastically cut government spending, arguing the bill would eliminate important programs such as job training, health clinics and ... an annual cowboy poetry festival in his home state of Nevada.
"These programs create jobs," Reid said. "The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist."
Reid went on to say that the GOP plan to cut $61 billion in government spending is "reckless" and "irresponsible," but in choosing to highlight an obscure art festival, Reid provided easy political fodder for Republicans, who are accusing their Democratic counterparts of failing to propose "realistic ways to tighten our belts," as Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, put it in his own Senate floor speech shortly after Reid.
"It's amazing that the Democratic leader has called Republicans 'mean-spirited' because they're proposing to cut funding for a cowboy poetry festival," DeMint said. "A cowboy poetry festival. Now, I love poetry and cowboys as much as anyone else, but we're looking at bankrupting our nation, destroying the future that was given to us by our predecessors. And we can't even get close to a realistic debate on how we can stop this rampage towards bankruptcy in America?"
The Senate was expected to hold a vote on the GOP plan - as well as on a countermeasure put forth by Democrats - on Tuesday, but Senate leaders announced late in the day that the votes will now take place Wednesday afternoon.
The Republican plan has already passed in the GOP-led House, but both parties have struggled to gain enough support in the Senate for either budget proposal to move forward.