Senate rejects Sessions’s attempt to call up budget amendments
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsPreet Bharara emailed DOJ about phone call from Trump: report Sessions backs LGBT Pride Month event Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump tweetstorm on Russia probe | White House reportedly pushing to weaken sanctions bill | Podesta to testify before House Intel MORE (R-Ala.) tried to bring up an amendment to stop a $6 billion cut in military retiree benefits, but didn’t have the votes to set aside the pending amendments.

On Tuesday, Sessions tried to force the Senate to reopen the amendment process on a bipartisan budget deal. Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDems see surge of new candidates Dems to grind Senate to a halt over ObamaCare repeal fight GOP fires opening attack on Dem reportedly running for Heller's Senate seat MORE (D-Nev.) “filled the amendment tree” to stop other senators from being able to amend the deal.

ADVERTISEMENT
“The legislation before us today now is brought forward in a way that will not allow any amendments,” Sessions said. “Nobody can get an amendment to fix this part of the legislation that plainly needs fixing.”

The Senate is considering a budget deal negotiated by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatty MurrayDems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity Live coverage: Senate GOP unveils its ObamaCare repeal bill Senators grill Perry on Yucca nuclear storage plans MORE (D-Wash.) and her House counterpart, Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanRyan reminds lawmakers to be on time for votes Lawmakers consider new security funding in wake of shooting Paul Ryan: ‘Beautiful day’ to catch up with Bono MORE (R-Wis.). The bill sets top-line spending levels for 2014 and 2015 and reduces the sequester spending cuts by $63 billion over the next two years.

To offset the restored sequester cuts, the bill would reduce federal employee retirement benefits by $6 billion. Military retiree benefits are also cut by $6 billion.

Sessions asked to set aside Reid’s amendments in order to call up his own, but he didn’t have the votes needed to accomplish the procedural move — a simple majority.

Before the failed 46-54 vote, Murray said Sessions’s motion would “jeopardize” the entire deal, which the House overwhelmingly passed last week. She also said the benefit cuts don't go into effect for two years, giving lawmakers plenty of time to find another way to save $6 billion.

“Jeopardizing this deal right now only threatens our national security,” Murray said. “There is no doubt that improvements will be made where needed, but this motion is an effort to bring down this bill.”

Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteOPINION: Democracy will send ISIS to the same grave as communism Kelly Ayotte joins defense contractor's board of directors Week ahead: Comey firing dominates Washington MORE (R-N.H.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference The Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill Judiciary Committee to continue Russia probe after Mueller meeting MORE (R-S.C.), James InhofeJames InhofeMcCain strikes back as Trump’s chief critic Turbulence for Trump on air traffic control Parliamentarian threatens deadly blow to GOP healthcare bill MORE (R-Okla.) and Roger WickerRoger WickerOvernight Defense: GOP chairman moves ahead with 0B defense bill | Lawmakers eye 355 ship navy | Senate panel seeks answers on shoot down of Syrian jet Lawmakers unveil bill to set 355-ship Navy Overnight Tech: Uber CEO resigns | Trump's Iowa tech trip | Dems push Sessions to block AT&T-Time Warner deal | Lawmakers warned on threat to election systems | MORE (R-Miss.) joined Sessions in speaking out against the $6 billion cut on the Senate floor.

All Republican senators voted with Sessions. They were joined by Democratic Sen. Kay HaganKay HaganLinking repatriation to job creation Former Sen. Kay Hagan in ICU after being rushed to hospital GOP senator floats retiring over gridlock MORE (D-N.C.), who is up for a tough reelection in 2014.

The Senate is expected to pass the bill Wednesday afternoon, but it could be sooner if Republicans agree to yield back debate time.