(Steven Dennis, Roll Call) – The Senate broke a logjam late Wednesday to advance a bipartisan highway bill despite several top Democrats voting to filibuster the package.
The vote caught many senators by surprise. Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore,. were warming up for the Washington Kastles Charity Classic when they got word of the vote. They dropped their racquets, got on their phones and prepared to pack it in and head back to the Capitol.
The once-united Democratic opposition had kept the bill off the floor — but the minority splintered later Wednesday, with Minority Leader Harry Reid; his heir apparent, Charles E. Schumer of New York and No. 4 Democrat Patty Murray of Washington voting to filibuster the bill and the No. 2 Democrat, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, voting to advance it to the floor.
The final tally was 62-36 — narrowly above the 60-vote threshold to overcome a filibuster.
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