McConnell tees up defense spending bill
© Francis Rivera

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team McConnell says he made 'inadvertent omission' in voting remarks amid backlash These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday paved the way for the Senate to take up a defense spending bill, setting up the first test for Democrats who have pledged to block the measure.

The Republican leader filed cloture on the motion proceed to the defense spending bill, creating a procedural vote for Thursday. 

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Senate Democrats are saying they'll block the bill, and every other spending bill, in an effort to force Republicans to make a deal to roll back budget caps for both defense and nondefense spending. 

Democrats have taken aim at an extra $38 billion tucked into a war fund meant to avoid the sequester spending caps for the Defense Department. 

Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Biden faces reporters as his agenda teeters Biden hits one-year mark in dire straits 'All or nothing' won't bolster American democracy: Reform the filibuster and Electoral Count Act MORE (D-Nev.) on Tuesday criticized McConnell for moving ahead with the defense bill, saying that Republicans are trying to pull off a budgetary "magic trick." 

"What I have heard my friend, the Republican leader talk about today, is trying to do some magic tricks, not only on the Senate but the country," he said.