UPDATE: Senate Votes on Republican, Democratic Budget Proposals Today

UPDATE: Senate Votes on Republican, Democratic Budget Proposals Today

UPDATE: Both bills were defeated this afternoon as expected. The Republican version fell by a vote of 44-56, with all Democrats, the two Independents, and three Republicans voting against it. The Democratic version fell 42-58, with all Republicans, 10 Democrats and one Independent voting against it. So no Democrats voted for the Republican version, and no Republicans voted for the Democratic version, although some in each party voted against their own party’s proposal.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Senate will vote this afternoon on both the Republican and Democratic versions of the full-year Continuing Resolution (CR). The Republican version is H.R. 1 as passed by the House on February 19. The Democratic version was put forward by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week. Our fact sheet shows what the two versions would appropriate for NASA, but both are expected to go down to defeat, opening the door for what pundits are calling “real” negotiations between the parties.

Neither party is expected to be able to muster the 60 votes needed to end debate and bring their version of the bill to a vote. Even if there was party unanimity on their own version of the bill, which there is not, either would need Senators from the opposite party to cross over and vote for their bill to get the 60 votes. There are 47 Republicans, 51 Democrats, and two Independents who caucus with the Democrats in the Senate.

Some Republicans object to the House-passed bill because the cuts are too deep, others because they are not deep enough. The story on the Democratic side about the Democratic version is the same. In total, the Republican version would cut $61.3 billion from FY2010 spending while the Democratic version would cut $8.7 billion, so the chasm is pretty wide.

The votes today are viewed as tests to see where the debate stands, setting the stage for further negotiations. Since the current CR that is funding the government expires on March 18 and it does not appear that agreement will be reached by then, another short-term CR reportedly is being readied to avoid a government shutdown.

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