© Greg Nash
Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThis obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all Sharron Angle to challenge GOP rep in Nevada Fox's Watters asks Trump whom he would fire: Baldwin, Schumer or Zucker MORE (D-Nev.) blocked a bipartisan animal abuse bill on Thursday amid a stalemate over Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) tried to get unanimous consent, which requires the agreement of every senator, to pass legislation he authored with Sen. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalSenators demand Pentagon action after nude photo scandal Gorsuch rewrites playbook for confirmation hearings Overnight Cybersecurity: House Intel chair says surveillance collected on Trump transition team MORE (D-Conn.) to crack down on animal cruelty.
Reid, however, objected, arguing if the Senate was going to pass the legislation, they should also consider Garland's nomination.
"We're happy to consider legislation, all kinds of legislation, but to pick and choose what they're going to do, leaving volumes of work undone here in the Senate ... is something that's incredulous," he said. "So I think it would be a good idea that before we rush ahead on legislation that's had no hearing that we have a hearing on Merrick Garland, that we have a vote on Merrick Garland."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSenate GOP hedges on ObamaCare repeal timeline Chao: Trump tapped into 'a strain of anxiety,' 'fear' Top general: Trump State Department cuts would hurt military's efforts against Russia MORE (R-Ky.), however, objected when Reid asked if Toomey would link passage of his bill to consideration of Garland's nomination.
Democrats, including Reid, have blasted Republicans over a limited election-year Senate schedule, including a seven-week break for the August recess. Though the Senate is scheduled to be in session through Oct. 7, lawmakers want to leave Washington next week after they pass a short-term spending bill.
When Toomey initially tried to respond to Reid's comments, the outgoing Senate Democratic leader blasted the GOP senator. Reid said he had been a "gentleman" by letting Toomey speak first, but "now he wants to give a speech here and prevent me from giving a speech to the Senate."
Toomey, noting his legislation has widespread support in the House and Senate, however, fired back, saying Reid was letting a partisan fight block a bipartisan bill.
"This is exactly what the American people are so frustrated about with this body and some of the leadership in this body, when this kind of completely partisan-driven agenda blocks progress," he said.