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The delay of the bill was an embarrassment for Democrats and a striking, if temporary, victory for critics of so-called earmark spending initiatives, who had criticized the bill as bloated with wasteful expenditures.
Among those critics were Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and two Democrats who opposed the measure, Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin.
But there were other reasons that Democrats came up short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill. Two Latino senators - one Democrat, one Republican - opposed it over provisions that would have eased some travel and trade restrictions on Cuba.
Senate Republican aides said they expected the bill to be approved next week after Republican lawmakers were allowed to offer additional amendments.