(LA Times) Spending plans fail in Senate; 9 days till government shutdown

As expected, the U.S. Senate failed Wednesday to advance either the House Republicans’ spending bill or an alternative proposal offered by Democrats, leaving lawmakers just nine days to work on a compromise plan or face a government shutdown.

Neither plan achieved even a simple majority of support in the chamber. The vote in the Senate was 56-44 against the plan approved by the Republican-led House last month, which would cut current spending levels by $61 billion. A subsequent vote on the alternate proposal from Senate Democrats, which offers cuts of $6.5 billion, failed 58-42. Sixty votes were needed to advance the measures.

The vote comes as President Obama faces new pressure to exert greater influence over the congressional debate. As the Senate readied for votes on the competing measures Tuesday, freshman Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) accused both parties of engaging in “political theater.”

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