Reid, McConnell reach deal to allow votes on spending bills

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced a deal with Republicans Tuesday that will allow the Senate to vote on rival spending measures Wednesday.

The votes on a GOP measure to further cut spending this year by about $57 billion, and a Democratic alternative to cut spending by $6.5 billion, will take place Wednesday afternoon.

“Even though there have been a few turns in the road we are at the place where we need to be,” Reid said in floor comments early Tuesday evening. “We need to be able to show the American people where we are on these issues.”

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The breakthrough came after Reid earlier on Tuesday accused Republicans of breaking a commitment to allow a vote on the House GOP spending measure.

“Things don’t always work smoothly around here but usually they work, and now we are at a point where we can vote on these two measures, which is what we need to do,” Reid said Tuesday in announcing the deal. He also thanked his GOP counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), for his cooperation in allowing the votes.

The Senate will vote first on the GOP measure. If it fails to win the necessary 60 votes to end debate, the Senate will move to a vote on the Democratic bill. Both are expected to fall short of the 60-vote hurdle.

The Senate will begin three hours of debate on the measures at noon on Wednesday.

While the votes are expected to fail, the intention is to provide both parties with a sense of how their measures stand in the broader Senate. Republicans and Democrats are split by $50 billion, and neither side has been willing to budge in the fight.