And for a few breathless moments on the Senate floor it seemed that Democrats might lose the procedural vote, which needed the assent of 60 senators.
Two Democrats, Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, and Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, initially voted no, meaning Democrats needed a lift from five Republicans to keep the spending bill on track. But only three Republicans — Christopher S. Bond of Missouri, George V. Voinovich of Ohio and Thad Cochran, the senior Republican on the Appropriations Committee – had come forward to vote yes, while two others Susan Collins of Maine and Roger Wicker of Mississippi held back from voting until the last minute.
The House has already approved the war spending measure and President Obama is waiting to sign it. Senate action is all that is needed to get the bill to his desk.
In the end, Ms. Cantwell switched her vote to a yes, and after a flurry of last-minute discussions on the floor, Ms. Collins, the Maine Republican, voted aye as well. Mr. Wicker of Mississippi voted no. And the final tally was 60 to 36.