Senate rejects Sessions’s attempt to call up budget amendments

Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsSessions: Clinton is the most anti-Second Amendment candidate ever Sunday shows preview: Sanders opens up about battle with Clinton Overnight Finance: Path clears for Puerto Rico bill | GOP senator casts doubt on IRS impeachment | Senate approves .1B for Zika 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 Reid McConnell sets up vote to begin debate on defense policy bill The Trail 2016: Dems struggle for unity Senate candidate taunts Sanders: Why don't you endorse Alan Grayson? MORE (D-Nev.) “filled the amendment tree” to stop other senators from being able to amend the deal.

ADVERTISEMENT
“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 passes broad spending bill with .1B in Zika funds The Hill's 12:30 Report Senate approves Zika funds MORE (D-Wash.) and her House counterpart, Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP duo unveils healthcare bill maintaining parts of ObamaCare House committee to take up mental health reform in June John Feehery: GOP: Listen to Reince 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 AyotteVA secretary comes under fire for comparing wait times to Disneyland Juan Williams: Electoral map looks grim for Trump Liberal super-PAC hits Johnson for supporting Trump MORE (R-N.H.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham: I'm still not supporting Trump North Korean official calls Trump idea of meeting 'nonsense' The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-S.C.), James InhofeJames InhofeThis week: Defense, energy bills top agenda Week ahead: Chemical safety bill nears finish line Senate set for showdown over women in the draft MORE (R-Okla.) and Roger WickerRoger WickerGOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' Senate Republicans ask Trump to soften his tone Immigration groups bring taco bowls to GOP lawmakers 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.  

More in Senate

Senate Republicans ask Trump to soften his tone

Read more »