Washington (CNN) – The Senate voted down two competing Democratic and Republican spending bills Wednesday, following a plan designed by congressional leaders and the White House to prove that neither bill has enough support to become law. Already anticipating the failed votes in the Senate, House Republican leaders are drafting another short term spending bill to keep the government running as the House and Senate and White House continue to negotiate spending cuts for the rest of the year.
Congressional leaders hoped the votes Wednesday would show lawmakers in both parties more compromises are required.
First, the Senate voted 56 to 44 against a House Republican bill that would cut $61 billion from current spending levels. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid described the cuts in the bill as "mean spirited" and said they would damage the fragile economic recovery underway.
Despite nervousness among moderate Republicans – especially those up for re-election – that the deep cuts might hurt their constituents, none voted against the House bill. GOP leaders had lobbied wavering Republicans for days, fearing any defections would play to the political advantage of Democrats.
Three conservative Republicans did vote against the House bill believing the cuts should be even deeper.
Next, the Senate voted 58 to 42 against a Democratic proposal that would have cut about $6 billion from current levels.
Eleven Democrats, a surprisingly large number, crossed the aisle to vote with all Republicans to defeat that bill.
Several Democrats facing possibly difficult re-elections – like Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Ben Nelson in Nebraska, Bill Nelson in Florida, Herb Kohl in Wisconsin and Joe Manchin in West Virginia-voted against the bill that was proposed by Senate Democrats and the White House.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said the Democrats' bill made only "meager spending cuts" and failed to make "tough decisions" about the need to shrink the deficit.
McCaskill said the cuts in the bill were not deep enough.
"It is, frankly, disappointing to me," she said. "I still think there are way too many people in denial around here about the nature of the problem and how serious it is."
Congressional and White House negotiators now have just over week to negotiate a long-term spending bill or agree to a new temporary bill to keep parts of the government from shutting down March 18th.
The House Appropriations Committee is drafting another short term bill, this one lasting 2 – 4 weeks, which would continue to cut spending while keeping federal agencies funded, according to senior House Republican sources. The bill's details are still being worked out, but aides say it would cut about $2 billion per week, similar to the amount cut each week in the current temporary spending resolution.
The cuts would likely come from the same areas Hill leaders used in the last compromise – eliminating earmark money and zeroing out programs that President Obama has already said he plans to cut in his 2012 budget. Other cuts could come from reductions proposed in the House-passed Republican bill. House GOP aides are aiming to release details of the temporary funding measure at the end of the week and vote early next week.
The top four Senate Democratic leaders met with President Obama Wednesday afternoon to try to forge a path forward
Updated 8:10 p.m. - Adds latest on House Republican plans for another short term spending bill to keep government running past March 18.
They don't give a damn about us............
A Republican Recession is right around the corner.
Yes! Just shut it down and see how people will react!
More useless pandering by Congress, what is the point of the vote knowing they will fail? You have now wasted a week on this stupid posturing.
BTW, Boehner, where are the jobs???
No Harry, "Mean Spirited" is you reaching into my wallet and stealing money that I haven't earned yet.
The remainder of my rant is at best 'R' rated and not proper for this forum.
I see that Obama is helping his oil business friends get rich by doing nothing to slow the rising price of oil while his fat-cat oil business friends get richer by the day. Now he wants to take military action in Libya. It's just for the oil. No military action for oil. And Obama should be tried and sent to prison as a war criminal for continuing to hold prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and now for re-starting the military tribunals at Gitmo. He's a cowboy president of the worst kind and, certainly, all you democrats agree with me on these things.
WHERE ARE THE JOBS?????????????
Cut DEFENSE and end TAX CUTS for those making over 250,000 a year........That ALONE will decrease the deficit more than all of the CUTTING you guys are attempting – COMBINED!!!
Another good example of why nothing extreme is going to pass into law this session. The problem, as always, is the radical TP's, for whom "compromise" is an obscenity. Both parties are going to have to do a LOT of compromising to make this budget happen, and if the TP's don't want to help they they will be marginalized.
Foreign aide would be 30 billion. Ending corporate tax loopholes would be even more.
Status Quo, enough said.
Let's see them cut the Big Oil tax breaks and rich people tax breaks alongside cutting public broadcasting and education. That's the meaningful compromise. Why put it ALL on the middle class and poor to balance things? Make the rich feel some of the pain as well.
If it isn't obvious to our friends on the Left, Reid and the Democrats have no interest whatsoever in cutting spending and battling the exploding deficits and debt. They are rooting for a government shutdown because they (the Dems) believe it will benefit them; however, it's not the 1990s anymore, and Americans are fed up with the arrogance and wreckless spending from the Dems and corrupt GOP politicians.
I'm a Democrat, but when I see Harry read I just get the feeling he's telling me "give me a good slap because I'm an idiot...."
I'm so happy the senate blocked these bills...it is coming more and more aparent that the GOp are not for the middle class. I'm sure there are other ways to trim the deficit without jeopardizing the lively hood of seniors, middle class, and students. To the GOp.... what are you trying to do to help the economy....where are the jobs!!!!!!!!! People are still suffering out here trying to make ends meet while cronically unemployed and desparately looking for work. You're wasting time trying to bring President Obama down....his integrity alone will win the next election so the best you can do is try to support him and the will of seniors, the unemployed, and students.
I say cut at least 100 billion this year, starting with defense spending and ending with subsidies to oil companies. Who agrees?
Dem's have no interest in turning things around, they love to see people in misery. Dem's are a useless party and should be disbanded. What the gov of Wis should do is send bounty hunters to Ill and bring the Dems back in leg irons and handcuffs to the chamber, then vote. They remind me of whinny babies, give them all a pacifier. OH ya disband the Unions they are worthless, that's why this country cannot compete on the world market, labor and benefits cost to much.
It's obvious that the Dems would rather bankrupt America than make any cuts.
Still got a few "Blue Dogs" hanging out in the senate, huh? Well, good luck getting elected as republicans next time around because you are done as democrats.
please help us in utah. our legistlators just past a bil HB477 that will effectivley allow no transperecy with our public officials. these people get thier commputers and blackberry's with my money. they need to use them so i know what they what they are doihng. give me back my computer and blackberry now! I often wright to the tribune but i live in UTAH. please nationally expose our state.
As long as people like Reid are involved in decision making one cannot expect any good for the country. This man and many like him are so encroached in special interests that they are blind for the real problems that this nation faces. Shame on them!
please help us in Utah. our legilators just past a bill HB477 that will effectivley allow no transprency with or public officials. these people get their computers and blackberry's with my money. they need to use them so I know what they are doing. give me back my computer and blackberry now! i Have written to the Salt Lake trib but I live in UTAH. please natioally expose our state.
I am starting to think that all this Political grandstanding and stalemate games is just another way our US Congressmen and Senators are not doing their freaking jobs. Now is the time for them to pass term limits for these people. I do not mean for Congress to vote on term limits, I say put it to a national vote. Let us US citizens decide whether or not we would like term limits imposed on our US Congress! You wonder why no progress is being made? Um hello take a look at who contributed money to their campaigns! They can not go against the people who got them where they are now! Try this on for size, how about for now on each candidate get an equal amount of money for their campaigns and once it runs out; oh well hope you spent it well and let the chips fall where they fall! I am so sick and tired of hearing each side critizes one another. Put aside what your differences are and find some common ground for god sakes!