The Senate narrowly passed a $40 billion budget-cutting bill today, with Vice President Cheney casting the deciding vote after the chamber split 50-50 on the measure.
Taking his seat as president of the Senate after cutting short a trip to the Middle East, Cheney announced he was voting for the legislation, making the final tally 51-50 in favor of passage.
But passage won't actually be able to happen until January because Dems managed to make a few, minor changes at the last second, meaning the bill has to go back to the House now:
The vote came after Senate Democrats used a last-minute parliamentary objection to force minor changes to the measure, stripping out three small provisions affecting health care policy. The new version now must go back to the House, which passed the legislation Monday 212-206. Although the House is considered sure to pass the bill again, its members would have to be called back to Washington, since most have already gone home for the holidays. Otherwise, final passage could be delayed until early next year.
UPDATE: My friend Tim, who knows the Senate much better than I, blogs a full explanation of what happened on the floor today and what it means for the budget.
If the House has to wait to pass the budget until next year, it will not be until February when they are scheduled to return.
You know when you have a really important assignment to complete at work before you leave for Christmas, but then you just totally sabotage it and skip gleefully out the door toward your snowy doorstep, a comfy easy chair, and some of those seasonal, toasted, cinammony pecans you got in the mail?
And then you get fired? Weird, I don't know what just made me think of that.