Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he'll force a cloture vote on the House Republicans' spending bill late tonight or very early tomorrow morning. That bill cuts $57 billion, much of it in ways designed to light up the Republicans' rightward base. (UPDATE from NBC's Ken Strickland: Senate votes Wednesday around 3.)
[Senate Majority Whip Dick] Durbin said the Senate GOP is avoiding the vote "because it is a painful vote for those who still cling to the belief that they are moderate Republicans. Look at the riders. I can think a half a dozen Republican senators who do not want to be on record cutting funding for Planned Parenthood."
"They may not want to be on record on some of the environmental cuts. Think of some names here. Now they’re stuck: take it or leave it, HR 1. I think they want to leave it and they are embarrassed to leave it after the House has made such a show of it," he said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has stuck to the Republican line, that his party is trying to do something and Democrats won't cooperate. "Where is the President?" he asked, in a release titled "A Tragic Failure of Leadership."
Senator Reid sounds like he sees an opportunity to play offense. Today he accused Republicans of going back on their deal with Vice President Biden to vote on the Republican spending plan and the Democratic one. "That was the deal. But now Republicans are reneging on that deal. They don't want to vote on their own bill."