Senate Dems block energy spending bill
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats blocked an energy spending bill on Thursday as they try to push Republicans to negotiate a larger budget deal.

Senators voted 49-47 on procedural hurdle over taking up the fiscal year 2016 spending bill on the Department of Energy and water development programs. Sixty votes were needed to move forward.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump vows to campaign against Murkowski after senator's criticism Senate advances conservation fund bill, House introduces companion Paul clashes with Booker, Harris over anti-lynching bill MORE (R-Ky.) tried to pressure Democrats ahead of the vote, noting that most senators on the Appropriations Committee supported the bill.

"Democrats issued press releases with nice things to say about the bill's contents," he said ahead of the vote. "Today we'll see if Democrats are seriously prepared to filibuster this bill as well."

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Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderMurkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump China stalled reporting genetic information about COVID-19, angering WHO: report Senate GOP chairman criticizes Trump withdrawal from WHO MORE (R-Tenn.) also tried to persuade Democrats, saying that moving forward with the bill would allow them to try to make additional changes. "A 'yes' vote means, ‘Yes, I would like to be involved in the energy and water appropriations process.' ... It's our job to debate," he said.

But the bill was widely expected to fail as Democrats are blocking every spending bill in an effort to get a long-term budget deal that would increase funding for defense and nondefense spending above the congressionally mandated budget caps.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGraham postpones Russia probe subpoena vote as tensions boil over Senate panel sends Trump appeals court pick to floor in party-line vote Democrats aim to amend Graham subpoena to include Trump allies MORE (D-Ill.) suggested that current standstill over spending bills is squarely the Republicans' fault.

"It's unfortunate that we are facing this, but I don't believe it's fair to blame our side of the aisle for the delay. ... As early as June we started saying we're facing an October 1 deadline, we need to have a budget compromise, a budget negotiation," he said ahead of the vote. "Three months ago we on the Democratic side said to the Republicans you're in charge. You're in the majority."

The House passed the spending legislation largely along party lines earlier this year, but the administration has pledged the veto measure if it is able to reach the president's desk.

The measure provides $1.2 billion more than the current spending level but is $633 million less than what the Obama administration requested.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said the bill "drastically underfunds critical investments."

"Furthermore, the legislation includes highly problematic ideological riders, including provision that threaten to undermine our ability to protect a resource that is essential to America's health: clean water," the OMB said in a statement earlier this year.