Spending Bill Drama

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “accused Republican leaders Tuesday of backing out of an agreement to hold votes on competing Republican and Democratic spending plans,” The Hill reports.

Reid said Republican leaders agreed last week to hold up-or-down votes on the House-approved bill that would cut another $57 billion from the federal budget for 2011 as well as a Democratic proposal to shave $6.5 billion, on top of $4 billion in cuts that passed last week.

But Republicans have withheld consent needed to schedule votes on both bills Tuesday.

“That was the agreement that we made,” Reid said on the floor Tuesday morning. “We would come here today and have a vote on H.R. 1 and on our alternative.

“Now, over here, the Republicans don’t want to vote,” said Reid.

A GOP aide “said he expected votes on the spending measures to take place Tuesday evening or Wednesday.”

The aide said Reid was making accusations as a distraction from criticism that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) leveled at Democratic leaders earlier in the morning. He said in a floor speech that President Obama had “failed to lead” on reducing spending. 

A Democratic aide “said the Senate might vote at 1 a.m. Wednesday to force up-or-down votes on the spending bill.”

Democratic strategists want to force centrist Republicans to take a public stand on H.R. 1. 

“I may have to jump through all of the procedural hoops to do it,” Reid said. “The Republicans over here are going to have to vote on that terrible bill, H.R. 1.”

According to First Read, Democrats “say privately that McConnell doesn’t want to take the vote until he can be assured that he won’t have any defections on the GOP-House passed bill.”

Several GOP aides tell NBC News that the vote will be "very tough" for some GOP members who have remained officially "undecided" on how they’d vote on the House bill.

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Filed under Budget, Party Leadership

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