` With apologies to Mick Farren Republicans stop Senate vote on spending bill WASHINGTON - Republican senators on Thursday thwarted Democratic leaders' efforts to pass a heavily debated $410 billion bill that would fund most government operations this year. The bill has been blasted by Sen. John McCain and others for including about 8,000 "earmarks" for pet projects. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is one vote short of the 60 votes needed to advance the measure toward a final vote. The Nevada Democrat has now decided to allow Republicans more opportunities to change their votes next Monday... ...Republicans say the sprawling bill is too costly and loaded with pet projects. Those earmarks have drawn the ire of conservatives who equate pet projects with wasteful, unnecessary spending — even though many Republican as well as Democratic lawmakers seek them out. The Senate appeared poised Thursday to send President Barack Obama a huge spending bill that awards big increases to domestic programs and is stuffed with pet projects sought by lawmakers in both parties... ...And, to the embarrassment of Obama — who promised during last year's campaign to force Congress to curb its pork-barreling ways — the bill contains 7,991 pet projects totaling $5.5 billion, according to calculations by the GOP staff of the House Appropriations Committee. McCain, R-Ariz., Obama's opponent last year, called the measure "a swollen, wasteful, egregious example of out-of-control spending" and again criticized the president for pledging to sign the measure despite his earlier promises on earmarks. "It doesn't sound like he's willing to use his veto pen to back up his vow," McCain said. C'mon Johnny ! Nobody backs up their vows on The Hill ! Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!