Senate rejects Sessions’s attempt to call up budget amendments

Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsGingrich, Christie top Trump’s VP list: report Trump hopes for boost from Brexit vote GOP senators: Brexit vote a wake-up call MORE (R-Ala.) tried to bring up an amendment to stop a $6 billion cut in military retiree benefits, but didn’t have the votes to set aside the pending amendments.

On Tuesday, Sessions tried to force the Senate to reopen the amendment process on a bipartisan budget deal. Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOvernight Finance: Obama signs Puerto Rico bill | Trump steps up attacks on trade | Dodd-Frank backers cheer 'too big to fail' decision | New pressure to fill Ex-Im board Iowa poll: Clinton up 14 on Trump, Grassley in tight race with Dem Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton creates firestorm for email case MORE (D-Nev.) “filled the amendment tree” to stop other senators from being able to amend the deal.

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“The legislation before us today now is brought forward in a way that will not allow any amendments,” Sessions said. “Nobody can get an amendment to fix this part of the legislation that plainly needs fixing.”

The Senate is considering a budget deal negotiated by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatty MurraySenate Dems: No August break without Zika deal Senators press Obama education chief on reforms Overnight Finance: Senate sends Puerto Rico bill to Obama | Treasury, lawmakers to meet on tax rules | Obama hits Trump on NAFTA | Fed approves most banks' capital plans MORE (D-Wash.) and her House counterpart, Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanWhich GOP pols will actually show up at the convention? Obama signs Puerto Rico debt bill Will Never Trump forces draft Romney to run? MORE (R-Wis.). The bill sets top-line spending levels for 2014 and 2015 and reduces the sequester spending cuts by $63 billion over the next two years.

To offset the restored sequester cuts, the bill would reduce federal employee retirement benefits by $6 billion. Military retiree benefits are also cut by $6 billion.

Sessions asked to set aside Reid’s amendments in order to call up his own, but he didn’t have the votes needed to accomplish the procedural move — a simple majority.

Before the failed 46-54 vote, Murray said Sessions’s motion would “jeopardize” the entire deal, which the House overwhelmingly passed last week. She also said the benefit cuts don't go into effect for two years, giving lawmakers plenty of time to find another way to save $6 billion.

“Jeopardizing this deal right now only threatens our national security,” Murray said. “There is no doubt that improvements will be made where needed, but this motion is an effort to bring down this bill.”

Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteThe Trail 2016: Meet and greet and grief Clean energy group backs two GOP incumbents Senator calls for pause in accepting Syrian refugees after Istanbul attack MORE (R-N.H.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamOvernight Defense: US blames ISIS for Turkey attack | Afghan visas in spending bill | Army rolls up its sleeves Senate panel passes bill that would create 4K visas for Afghans Trump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office MORE (R-S.C.), James InhofeJames InhofeMcCain wants hearings on lifting of military's transgender ban Senate Republicans push for Flint aid bill Menendez rails against Puerto Rico bill for 4 hours on floor MORE (R-Okla.) and Roger WickerRoger WickerMenendez rails against Puerto Rico bill for 4 hours on floor Rubio will run for reelection Lawmakers push first responder network on rural service MORE (R-Miss.) joined Sessions in speaking out against the $6 billion cut on the Senate floor.

All Republican senators voted with Sessions. They were joined by Democratic Sen. Kay HaganKay Hagan10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2016 Senate Republicans are feeling the 'Trump effect' Washington's lobby firms riding high MORE (D-N.C.), who is up for a tough reelection in 2014.

The Senate is expected to pass the bill Wednesday afternoon, but it could be sooner if Republicans agree to yield back debate time.  

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