Uh-oh — another Democratic senator vowed today to oppose the $410 billion spending bill that is slated to keep the government funded until October.
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), appearing at a press conference on the line-item veto alongside Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), joined Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) in urging President Obama to veto the spending measure:
I have typically not voted for omnibus bills because they always end up like this. And you know the president should veto it. And if it sent over there, the president should veto it. He should say, look, I asked for a stimulus bill that had no earmarks in it, and it did not based on the definition we’re using in this bill.
As he notes, Feingold’s at least being consistent here. But let’s take a quick whip count, to see whether Democrats can actually pass this puppy …… if Dems lose Feingold and Bayh, that takes them down to 54 votes — assuming Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) will still be unable to make it, and that Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ) withholds his vote over Cuba policy. That means that six GOP votes will be needed to pass the spending bill, in the worst-case scenario.
If you look at yesterday’s roll-call vote on McCain’s plan to strip earmarks from the measure, you’ll see that nine Republicans, most of them members of the Appropriations Committee, voted with the Dems. So will six of those nine remain gettable by the end of the week? Good question.
Late Update: Some readers have been wondering why Democrats need 60 votes to pass the spending bill, given that budget legislation is immune to filibuster. Although it sounds like a budget measure, this $410 billion bill is pure appropriations and thus open to GOP filibustering.