Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidCommunities struggling with decline of coal can’t wait any longer on RECLAIM Act Week ahead: AT&T-Time Warner merger under scrutiny This week: Government funding deadline looms MORE (D-Nev.) on Tuesday blocked Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulGOP rep: Trump has 'extra-constitutional' view of presidency The ignored question: What does the future Republican Party look like? Rand Paul skeptical about Romney as secretary of State 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 StabenowOvernight Finance: Trump takes victory lap at Carrier plant | House passes 'too big to fail' revamp | Trump econ team takes shape Senate Dems: Force Cabinet nominees to release tax returns Five things a President Trump can do to bring back and create new jobs MORE (D-Mich.) and Pat RobertsPat RobertsGOP debates going big on tax reform Memo to the LGBT community: Donald Trump is not your enemy Bob McDonnell to join Regent Univ. faculty 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 ShaheenThis Week in Cybersecurity: Dems press for information on Russian hacks Overnight Tech: Venture capitalists' message to Trump | Bitcoin site ordered to give IRS data | Broadband gets faster Dem senator: Hold hearing on Russian interference in election 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 LeeWill Trump back women’s museum? Overnight Cybersecurity: Lawmakers pushing for vote to delay warrant rule changes Coons to call for voice vote to halt changes to hacking rule MORE (R-Utah), the amendments on food stamps by Paul, the Shaheen amendment, and two amendments by Sens. Tom CoburnTom CoburnWill Trump back women’s museum? Don't roll back ban on earmarks Ryan calls out GOP in anti-poverty fight MORE (R-Okla.) and Maria CantwellMaria CantwellOvernight Energy: Dakota pipeline standoff heats up Obama rescinds Arctic offshore drilling proposal Overnight Energy: Hopes rise for Flint aid 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.