Senate Democrats blocked a defense spending bill for the second time on Thursday, underscoring the hurdles ahead of next month’s government funding deadline.
Senators voted 51-41 on whether to advance a spending package that was expected to include the defense funding. The bill needed 60 votes to advance.
Democrats warned ahead of time that they would oppose taking up the bill until lawmakers get a deal on top-line spending figures known as 302(b)s. They previously blocked the defense spending bill in September.
“The Republican leader has been accusing Democrats of threatening to block military funding. Now, that is an absurd statement if there ever was one. We’re simply trying to stop Republicans from stealing money from our military and putting it into the wall,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said ahead of the vote.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) sent a letter this week to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) asking that they “take a meaningful step forward and work together with us to reach bipartisan agreement on 302(b) allocations for all twelve appropriations bills.”
“Such an agreement is necessary for appropriators and all of our Members to do their jobs and fund our national priorities,” he wrote.
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its defense spending bill along party lines after Republicans rejected an amendment that would have prevented President Trump from redirecting money toward the border wall without congressional signoff.