President Obama was a vocal opponent of earmarks during his presidential campaign. In response to demands that the president veto the legislation or ask Congress to remove the earmarks, officials from the Obama administration said that the budget was "last year's business" and that the country needed to "move on." Apparently, the proposed measure has suddenly become this year's business.
According to the Associated Press:
Senate Republicans, demanding the right to try to change a huge spending bill, forced Democrats on Thursday night to put off a final vote on the measure until next week. The surprise development will force Congress to pass a stopgap funding bill to avoid a partial shutdown of the government.Two prominent Democratic Senators -- Evan Bayh and Russ Feingold -- also oppose the measure due to the earmarks. They have called upon Obama to veto it if it passes.
Republicans have blasted the $410 billion measure as too costly. But the reason for GOP unity in advance of a key procedural vote was that Democrats had not allowed them enough opportunities to offer amendments.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., canceled the vote, saying he was one vote short of the 60 needed to close debate and free the bill for President Barack Obama's signature.
Democrats and their allies control 58 seats, though at least a handful of Democrats oppose the measure over its cost or changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba. That meant Democrats needed five or six Republican votes to advance the bill.