The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Senate begins debate on spending bill

Updated 4:41 p.m.

The U.S. Senate began formal consideration of a short-term spending plan Monday, setting in motion several days of debate over a Republican-backed measure that would strip funding for the new federal health-care law.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) once again vowed to strip out language that would defund the law known as Obamacare, saying that Republican "fanatics" were trying "to take the federal government and our economy hostage to their demands."

"We're not going to bow to tea party anarchists who deny the mere fact that Obamacare is the law," Reid said. "We will not bow to tea party anarchists who refuse to accept the Supreme Court ruling that Obamacare is constitutional. And we will not bow to tea party anarchists in the House or in the Senate, who ignore the fact that President Obama was overwhelmingly reelected a few months ago."