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DeMint Delays Consideration of Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), demanding debate over handful of GOP-sponsored amendments, prevented the Senate from moving forward on the legislative branch appropriations bill Tuesday night. In a five-minute floor exchange after Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) unanimous consent request to move forward on the appropriations bill, DeMint was unable to receive a guarantee from the majority to take up seven Republican amendments to the almost $5 billion bill that funds House, Senate and Congressional agencies. The amendments, authored by DeMint and Republican Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.) and David Vitter (La.), include measures to take back unspent funds from the stimulus bill and a request for a Government Accountability Office audit of the Federal Reserve. “These are our amendments, and if we can just get an agreement now that these can be included, we would be glad to proceed,— DeMint said. “We’re happy to work with you. We have no problem. But as far as guaranteeing votes on this stuff, I can’t do that,— Reid responded. Reid said he would proceed with regular order on the bill, which requires more floor time and the use of procedural motions to overcome Republican objections in order to pass the measure. “I think it’s another indication of where we’re just wasting time,— Reid lamented.The two sides hope to work out an agreement on the legislation Wednesday.The House passed a similar measure Thursday despite complaints from Republicans over an increase in spending.

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