Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) took one final shot at the House Republicans' "cut, cap, and balance" legislation before it came before the Senate for a vote Friday.
“This is a very, very bad piece of legislation, and anyone voting for it I think will have to respond in many different ways to the people of their states,” said Reid on Friday morning, about an hour before the vote was scheduled.
The vote comes amid reports of a deal between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), which Senate Democrats decried and House Republicans denied existed.
Boehner urged the Senate to pass the legislation Friday morning, writing on his Facebook page: "Media accounts are speculating about a 'deal' between Republicans and the White House that does not exist. What does exist is the Cut, Cap, & Balance Act, approved by the House with bipartisan support and the support of the American people. The Senate should do its job, listen to the people, and pass it today."
The Democratic-controlled Senate is not expected to approve the legislation.
Reid also defended his decision to replace a procedural vote on the bill that was scheduled for Saturday with a rare motion-to-table vote for Friday.
“This is an effort to move this legislation off the floor,” said Reid. “It is interfering with negotiations with the White House, and it is without merit."
Democrats fear that many Republicans will shy from embracing any middle-of-the-road compromises while the House Republicans’ alternative is still perceived by the public as viable.
Reid said senators ought to consider the motion-to-table vote, set for 10 a.m., as a vote on the bill itself.
“This is a vote on this bill,” said Reid. “We on this side of the aisle are going to look at every vote cast.”
In order to call a vote at the last minute, Senate Democrats set up for a rare procedural tactic Thursday night, laying out a plan to table the cloture “motion to proceed” on the legislation.
Reid's decision to move the vote from Saturday to Friday represented a shift in Democrats' strategy on dealing with the Republican plan.
Earlier in the week Reid said he intended to allow Republicans to debate their bill until Saturday morning.
"I am committed to allowing a full and fair debate on this bill," Reid said on Wednesday. "I want the proponents and opponents of this bill to have time to air their views."
But on Thursday afternoon, Reid announced he would no longer “waste” the Senate’s time and would seek to abbreviate debate.
“I think this piece of legislation is about as weak and senseless as anything that has ever come on this Senate floor,” said Reid. “I am not going to waste the Senate's time day after day on this piece of legislation.”
The measure coming up for a vote would cut spending by $111 billion in 2012, cap spending over the next decade and prohibit more borrowing until Congress passes a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
—This post was updated at 10:04 a.m.