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Senate Democrats Block Defense Spending Bill

by Frank Thorp V /

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Democrats successfully blocked the Senate from considering a key defense spending bill, making good on their promise that they would stand in the way of any spending bills put forward until Republicans budge on spending caps set on non-defense programs.

In a party-line vote of 50-45, Democrats stopped Republicans from getting the 60 votes needed to proceed to the Defense Appropriations Bill. Before the vote even happened, the White House threatened that President Barack Obama would veto the bill if it made it to his desk.

Republicans used a budget gimmick to increase the spending level caps on defense spending, but left the caps on non-defense programs in place. Democrats have said they will block consideration of all spending bills until Republicans agree to lift the non-defense caps by the same amount as defense programs.

Democrats called on Republicans to start negotiating a deal so that sequestration cuts don't hit federal programs at the end of the fiscal year.

Related: National Defense Authorization Act Passes House; Heads to Senate

In 2013, then-House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, negotiated a deal with then-Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray, D-Washington, to raise the caps for two years. That deal is set to expire at the end of September, after which the deep sequestration cuts will go back into effect.

Earlier today, the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act , 71-25, which determines which programs will get which funds. The Obama Administration had threatened a veto on that measure as well, citing the cap busting budget gimmick as a reason.

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