Senate Dems block energy spending bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats blocked an energy spending bill on Thursday as they try to push Republicans to negotiate a larger budget deal.

Senators voted 49-47 on procedural hurdle over taking up the fiscal year 2016 spending bill on the Department of Energy and water development programs. Sixty votes were needed to move forward.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) tried to pressure Democrats ahead of the vote, noting that most senators on the Appropriations Committee supported the bill.

"Democrats issued press releases with nice things to say about the bill's contents," he said ahead of the vote. "Today we'll see if Democrats are seriously prepared to filibuster this bill as well."

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Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care: Trump health chief backs CDC research on gun violence | GOP negotiators meet on ObamaCare market fix | Groups sue over cuts to teen pregnancy program GOP negotiators meet on ObamaCare market fix 30 million people will experience eating disorders — the CDC needs to help MORE (R-Tenn.) also tried to persuade Democrats, saying that moving forward with the bill would allow them to try to make additional changes. "A 'yes' vote means, ‘Yes, I would like to be involved in the energy and water appropriations process.' ... It's our job to debate," he said.

But the bill was widely expected to fail as Democrats are blocking every spending bill in an effort to get a long-term budget deal that would increase funding for defense and nondefense spending above the congressionally mandated budget caps.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinAmerica’s waning commitment to the promise of the First Amendment Senate rejects Trump immigration plan What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (D-Ill.) suggested that current standstill over spending bills is squarely the Republicans' fault.

"It's unfortunate that we are facing this, but I don't believe it's fair to blame our side of the aisle for the delay. ... As early as June we started saying we're facing an October 1 deadline, we need to have a budget compromise, a budget negotiation," he said ahead of the vote. "Three months ago we on the Democratic side said to the Republicans you're in charge. You're in the majority."

The House passed the spending legislation largely along party lines earlier this year, but the administration has pledged the veto measure if it is able to reach the president's desk.

The measure provides $1.2 billion more than the current spending level but is $633 million less than what the Obama administration requested.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said the bill "drastically underfunds critical investments."

"Furthermore, the legislation includes highly problematic ideological riders, including provision that threaten to undermine our ability to protect a resource that is essential to America's health: clean water," the OMB said in a statement earlier this year.