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The Senate today blocked an amendment that would exempt Social Security from any measures to balance the budget. In a 57-41 vote, mostly along party lines, the GOP Senators killed the proposal by Democratic Senators Harry Reid of Nevada and Dianne Feinstein of California. TIME congressional correspondent Karen Tumulty notes that the GOP knows it needs to keep its options open on the balanced budget amendment. The Social Security trust fund surplus is expected to reach more than $100 billion annually in the next decade. "Hard enough as it is to balance the budget, there's no question that it will get exponentially harder if they exempt social security," Tumulty says. "They killed the measure today because they the need the money." Democrats are planning similar showdowns on other popular programs like Medicare and benefits for veterans.