“A stopgap spending bill advanced in the Senate Wednesday with Democrats keeping to a middle path in hopes of improving their chances for a strong bipartisan showing — and greater leverage with the Republican-controlled House.
On a 52-45 vote, the majority quickly dispatched a tea-party-led bid to cut off funding for President Barack Obama’s signature health care reforms. But five Democrats later crossed the aisle to help Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) win an evening vote, 50-48, backing his amendment to cut an estimated $120 million in unauthorized funds from the defense portion of the bill.
The floor action came as House and Senate Budget Committees moved ahead Wednesday with two wildly different, competing 10-year deficit-reduction plans. And with Obama back in the Capitol for the second of three days of meetings with lawmakers, the convergence of budget forces in a single week has been striking.