Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOvernight Tech: Tech comes to the hill to talk diversity | FTC commissioners testify | ICANN transition jitters The Trail 2016: The fallout Dem groups invest big in Bayh in Ind. Senate race MORE (D-Nev.) on Tuesday blocked Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulLawmaker seeks to investigate Obama's foreign tax compliance law Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears GOP senators hit FBI on early probe of NY bombing suspect MORE (R-Ky.) from attaching an amendment to the farm bill that would withhold U.S. aid to Pakistan.
Reid asked for unanimous consent Tuesday to consider a batch of five amendments to the farm bill, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S.3240), but Paul objected, arguing that his amendment on withholding aid to Pakistan should also be included.
In response, Reid performed a procedural move called “filling the tree,” or taking up all the amendment space, to keep Paul's amendment from being considered.
The amendment would have defunded U.S. aid to Pakistan until the country frees an imprisoned doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden.
Reid said the farm bill is not the place for dealing with Pakistan and urged Paul to work with him on pressuring the country through other legislation.
Reid said the Senate is working on a bill “that just does not allow something like that to come forward."
"I would like to work with him in the future, and I'm sure a number of other senators would to focus on our relations with Pakistan," Reid said, referring to Paul. "So, I would say to my friend that he doesn't stand alone in his concern, but there has to be a time and place for everything, and hopefully we can have a full debate on Pakistan in the near future."
By filling the tree, Reid blocked Paul or other senators from attaching amendments to the farm bill. Senators will have to come to an agreement on amendments or Reid will have to file cloture in order to attach more amendments to the bill.
Now, the Senate is set to hold two symbolic votes on Wednesday on two matters in the farm bill, one on food stamps and one on a U.S. sugar quota. Sens. Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowFunding bill rejected as shutdown nears Dems demand Flint funding promise 'in writing' from GOP Senate Dems: Add Flint aid to spending deal MORE (D-Mich.) and Pat RobertsPat RobertsSenate panel approves pension rescue for coal miners Congress set for Saudi showdown with Obama GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (R-Kan.), the co-sponsors of the farm bill, said that they would still try to find a "global agreement" on amendments to the farm bill.
Specifically, senators will vote to table the two amendments on Wednesday. One, by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenDems call for better birth control access for female troops GOP puts shutdown squeeze play on Dems Senators seek to boost women in international forces MORE (D-N.H.) lowers the loan rate for producers of sugar beet crops. The other, by Paul, replaces the federal food stamp program with a state block grant system.
Reid said he had "not given up hope" for reaching a "universal agreement" on the more than 100 farm bill amendments senators had already introduced for consideration.
If the chamber does not reach an agreement on which amendments to consider, the farm bill could stall despite strong bipartisan support.
The five original amendments Reid offered before Paul objected were a motion to recommit by Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeFunding bill rejected as shutdown nears Shutdown risk grows over Flint Conservative group presses GOP to vote against spending bill MORE (R-Utah), the amendments on food stamps by Paul, the Shaheen amendment, and two amendments by Sens. Tom CoburnTom CoburnRyan calls out GOP in anti-poverty fight The Trail 2016: Words matter Ex-Sen. Coburn: I won’t challenge Trump, I’ll vote for him MORE (R-Okla.) and Maria CantwellMaria CantwellUS wins aerospace subsidies trade case over the EU Wells CEO Stumpf resigns from Fed advisory panel Overnight Energy: Lawmakers kick off energy bill talks MORE (D-Wash.). The texts for the Coburn and Cantwell amendments were not immediately available.
—Erik Wasson contributed reporting.
This story was updated at 7:23 p.m.