BOTH SPENDING PLANS FAIL TO GARNER 60 SENATE VOTES…. As of late last week, leaders from both parties and both chambers agreed to a next step in the budget fight. The Senate would hold two votes — one on the House Republican plan, featuring $61 billion in cuts, and on the White House plan, featuring $10 billion in cuts. Both would need 60 votes, and neither would reach that threshold.

This afternoon, that’s exactly what happened.

Senators voted largely along party lines Wednesday afternoon to reject a House-passed proposal to cut an additional $57 billion in federal spending this year.

The vote was 44 to 56. All Democrats, and two independents who caucus with the Democrats, voted against it. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also voted against it.

Here’s the roll call on the vote. Soon after, the Democratic alternative failed on a 42-to-58 vote.

At this point, the failures of the bills were basically a formality that the Senate needed to get out of the way. The point is to now return to the negotiating table, letting House Republicans know their plan can’t pass as it currently exists, and the White House’s alternative can’t, either.

Just a reminder: if yet another deal isn’t reached by a week from Friday, the government shuts down.

And while today’s outcome was inevitable, what I found most interesting was how the so-called “moderates” voted. In fact, I assume they might ultimately regret it.

We’re talking about the House GOP plan, word for word, letter for letter. Three right-wing Republicans in the Senate voted against it, but only because they thought it wasn’t quite brutal enough towards working families.

But the plan the rest of the Senate GOP caucus voted for is a genuine travesty. It features deep cuts in areas such as education, medical research, infrastructure, job training, and national security, all of which is projected to cost the economy hundreds of thousands of jobs. It slashes student loans, environmental protections, domestic security and law enforcement, food safety, science, health care, transportation, preparing workers for new careers, etc.

Polls show the American mainstream wanting nothing to do with such a plan. And yet, Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) all voted this, basically because their party told them they had to.

This one vote will provide the DSCC fodder for dozens of campaign ads. If the bill was going down anyway, there’s no reason for these folks to throw their support behind a plan they know is bad for the country and their constituents.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.