Sensing division, Senate Democrats declared Tuesday that they will force Republicans to vote on the House GOP’s bill to cut $57 billion in spending.
Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidWeek ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road 'Tuesday Group' turncoats must use recess to regroup on ObamaCare MORE (D-Nev.) said he would bring a cloture vote late Tuesday evening, and perhaps as late as 1 a.m. Wednesday, on a motion to debate the House spending bill.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellDisconnect: Trump, GOP not on same page GOP senator: There will never be full U.S.-Mexico border wall Overnight Tech: Dem wants to see FCC chief's net neutrality plans | New agency panel on telecom diversity | Trump calls NASA astronaut MORE (R-Ky.) said there would be a vote on the competing proposal from Democrats in the next day or so, but it was clear Tuesday that Republicans were still scrambling to get all GOP senators to vote for the House bill.
Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinTop Trump officials push border wall as government shutdown looms Top Dem: Shutdown over border wall would be 'height of irresponsibility' Sunday shows preview: Trump stares down 100-day mark MORE (D-Ill.) claimed the Senate GOP is wavering because centrist party members do not want to vote for the deep cuts in the House bill.
Durbin said the Senate GOP is avoiding the vote “because it is a painful vote for those who still cling to the belief that they are moderate Republicans. Look at the riders. I can think a half a dozen Republican senators who do not want to be on record cutting funding for Planned Parenthood."
“They may not want to be on record on some of the environmental cuts. Think of some names here. Now they’re stuck: take it or leave it, HR 1. I think they want to leave it and they are embarrassed to leave it after the House has made such a show of it,” he said.
Durbin said that Democrats would vote for the motion to proceed to HR 1 in order to force an up-or-down vote on it that they will then vote en bloc against.
Republican Whip Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz) ran from reporters after a party lunch on Tuesday and said that the party whip count is not finished yet so he could not say whether all Republicans are on board with the House bill.
Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiTrump’s Army pick faces tough confirmation fight Republican Sen. Collins considering run for Maine governor in 2018 Alaska senators push bill to allow Arctic drilling MORE (R-Alaska) refused to say whether she would vote for it Tuesday, while Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said he supports it.
Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Me.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsCollins: I'm not working with Freedom Caucus chairman on healthcare Mexico: Recent deportations 'a violation' of US immigration rules White House denies misleading public in aircraft carrier mix-up MORE (R-Me.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) are also seen as possible defections.
Reid said that he believes the “vast majority” of his caucus will vote for the Democratic alternative, although some moderate members have said it does not go far enough.
Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPress: Hillary's doomed bid Pelosi: 'Of course' Dems can be against abortion Kasich: 'I think political parties are on their way out' MORE (I-Vt.) may vote against it because he thinks it cuts too much, he told reporters Tuesday.
When asked whether President Obama has been doing enough to lead during the budget fight, Reid said he has been in touch with Obama every day. He noted that the president “has a lot of other things on his plate,” like the crisis in the Middle East.
Reid said that he is opposed to an additional short-term spending bill being floated by the House. He said Senate Republicans should stop wasting time by dragging out the votes on the alternative spending bills, and get on with the negotiations on a long-term spending bill.
Reid has said that the House GOP has made a Senate vote on its spending bill a pre-requisite for further spending talks.