Democrats block defense spending bill, amid budget fight

By Patricia Zengerle and Alex Wilts WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats blocked the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, part of a campaign to force Republicans to start budget negotiations by refusing to allow any appropriations measure to advance to a final vote. The 50-45 vote failed to achieve the 60 majority needed to advance to final passage, as every Democrat except Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana voted not to go ahead with the bill. Senate Democrats and Republicans are fighting over how to deal with so-called “sequestration” spending caps, especially a Republican-led plan to use $38 billion in special war contingency funds to let the Department of Defense sidestep the mandatory restrictions put in place under the 2011 Budget Control Act.

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