The Senate today rejected alternative Republican and Democratic approaches to the long-term FY11 spending bill. The House-passed HR 1, which would cut $57.5 billion from current FY11 funding, failed on a vote of 44-56; the Senate Democratic leadership plan, which would cut $4.7 billion from current funding, failed on a vote of 42-58. Since neither proposal came close to receiving the 60 Senate votes needed to pass, the votes made clear that neither party holds a real advantage at the moment, and that serious negotiations will need to take place before the issue is resolved. National Journal reports that Senate Democrats also hope to broaden the debate to include other parts of the budget, such as farm price supports and offshore oil subsidies.
Meanwhile, with little chance that a budget agreement will be reached by the time the current continuing resolution (CR) expires on March 18, House appropriators are developing a new short-term FY11 CR. House Republicans say that another short-term CR will, like the current one, include a $2-billion cut in spending for each additional week of the CR.
Washington Senators Murray and Cantwell voted against HR 1 and for the Democratic alternative.