How did senators vote on the short-term spending bill?

September 27, 2013

The Senate voted along party lines Friday to approve a short-term spending bill that restores funding for the new federal health-care law and sends it back to the House, where its fate remains uncertain.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), who orchestrated a conservative strategy to slow consideration of the spending bill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), who orchestrated a conservative strategy to slow consideration of the spending bill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Final passage came at the end of a series of four votes that had senators  end debate on the bill, approve a procedural change regarding spending, add an amendment that restored funding for the health-care law and then decide on final passage.

The vote to end debate -- formally known as cloture -- and the final passage vote were seen as most critical, so here's our look at what happened:

ON THE CLOTURE VOTE (to end formal debate on the spending bill):

Final tally: 79 to 19.

How many Democrats voted yes?: 54.

How many Republicans voted yes?: 23.

How many Republicans voted no?: 19.

How many Democrats voted no?: 0.

How many senators didn't vote?: 2.

Which Republicans voted no?: Sens. Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz (Tex.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Charles Grassley (Iowa), Dean Heller (Nev.), James Inhofe (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Rob Portman (Ohio), James Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), David Vitter (La.).

Which senators didn't vote?: Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) (who is attending his son's wedding in Arizona) and Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah).

Votes Notes: Seen through the lens of raw politics, this vote is a new way to measure the ideological and tactical divide among the chamber's 46 Senate Republicans.

For GOP senators, the cloture vote was less about proceeding to final passage of the bill and more about which camp they chose to join. There's the camp led by Cruz and Lee that sought to use all procedural means necessary to defund the health-care law, or at least slow consideration of the Senate spending bill. This group also is working closely with conservative House Republicans on what they might be able to do over the weekend to amend the bill and send it back to the Senate.

Then there's the group led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his deputy, John Cornyn (R-Tex.), who believe it makes more sense to quickly send the spending measure back to the GOP-controlled House, where it can be amended again with changes amenable to Republican lawmakers.

Indications early Friday suggested that the Cruz-Lee camp would earn as many as 20 votes -- and that would have happened if Flake had been in Washington. Before leaving town, Flake said Thursday that he would have voted against ending debate because spending levels are set too high in the bill.

This bill also demonstrated the remarkable unity that exists among members of the Senate Democratic caucus. No Democrat voted against ending debate, or voted "no" on any of the other votes today.

ON FINAL PASSAGE OF THE SPENDING BILL:

Vote tally: 54 to 44.

How many Democrats voted yes?: 54.

How many Republicans voted yes?: 0.

How many Democrats voted no?: 0.

How many Republicans voted no?: 44.

How many senators didn't vote?: 2.

Who didn't vote?: Flake and Hatch.

Votes Notes: This almost wasn’t a party-line vote. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), a moderate Republican, initially voted for the bill, but returned to the chamber and switched his vote to "no." And then there's Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who voted last and appeared to be wavering on the Senate floor. She was seen conferring with Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and from our reporter's perch, it appeared that members of each party were doing their best to woo Collins.

Throughout the week, Republicans suggested that a handful of the most-vulnerable Democrats facing reelection next year might vote against the spending plan, but all of them -- Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) -- voted for the budget plan, as did other moderates, including Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).

Bottom line: This was a party-line, party-loyalty vote based on the decision by Democrats to restore funding for the Affordable Care Act, the signature domestic achievement of President Obama.

Follow Ed O'Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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