Johanns's amendment, which failed 61-35, was offset with unspent and unobligated federal dollars, with cuts in the agencies to be determined by the Office of Management and Budget.
The Baucus proposal -- which failed 44-35 -- wasn't paid for and would have added to the deficit while at the same time lowering the cost of repealing healthcare reform, a Republican priority.
Baucus noted that getting 67 votes was “pretty close to impossible” with the 56-44 breakdown of the Democratically controlled Senate during the current lame-duck session.
Much of the argument came down to the decision-making power that would be invested in the executive branch to determine any spending cuts.
Johanns indirectly ridiculed Democrats for shying away from supporting President Obama, but Democrats said they wanted to preserve congressional power.
They noted that the Johanns amendment would force cuts to be determined solely by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.
The Johanns amendment "would give the unelected director of OMB unprecedented authority to slash spending, all on his own," and it "would thus abdicate Congress’s responsibility over the budget,” Baucus said earlier today on the floor.
J. Taylor Rushing contributed to this story.